Saturday

24th Jun 2017

Focus

EU innovation efforts unknown

The efforts of the EU to turn the old continent into an “innovation union” are largely unknown to business leaders, according to a survey released on Tuesday (8 May) by global accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Not more than 27 percent of those polled “are aware of the European Commission’s efforts to promote innovation,” it says.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The survey, conducted by Brussels-based think-tank Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) during the first two months of this year, is based on a sample of 680 "business leaders" from 15 EU member states from all four corners of the Union.

The low result can partly be explained by the fact that “not all respondents are in fact chief executive officer,” says Andrea Renda, researcher at CEPS and author of the report.

“Some are chief financial officer or have another title,” he says. “But even then, it is very low. Even financial officers should know something about where they get their money from.”

Another explanation may be that EU policies are a mystery to many. It is often said that particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, the bulk of Europe’s industry, remain beyond the reach of the Brussels force field.

“There is a lack of outreach [on the part of EU policy-makers],” says Renda. “I think they tried their best but haven’t succeeded. It is definitely alarming.”

The survey, part of a report on EU innovation policies, shows that 82 percent of respondents “believe that access to EU funds should be made easier”.

“Not a surprise,” says Renda. EU innovation funding is notoriously slow and complex. “But still, not a good sign.”

In addition, 82 percent of respondents believe that “EU policy is too fragmented”.

“A lot of innovation is taking place across borders these days,” says Renda. “Innovation clusters are no longer local clusters but regional clusters. So there is a call for further coordination.”

Perhaps more surprising is the share of respondents who “are aware of the work of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT)”: 20 percent.

The EIT was created in 2008 in order to forge relations between the academia and business in Europe.

This is "a bit surprising,” says Renda. “It has been there for a while now and has been praised by the companies who have had the chance to work with it.”

Andrea Renda, researcher at CEPS and author of the report: "The power of simplicity"
Innovation

As the EU continues to struggle with the effects of the economic crisis, the importance of investing in innovation and research is increasingly been emphasized. But how much money is enough and where should it be spent? EUobserver investigates.

The Acta debate - will innovation be stifled?

Opponents of Acta, the controversial anti-counterfeiting treaty up for vote in the European Parliament in July, say, among other things, that it would stifle innovation. Advocates say the exact opposite.

EU scientists 'suppliers for the economy'

Ties between science and business in Europe have always been weak. But that is changing - to the chagrin of some. The case of a Belgian scientist who participated in an anti-gmo protest is likely to fuel the debate.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit