Wednesday

23rd Aug 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Opinion

Managing migration: a European responsibility

"The EU now needs to bring its weight to bear, to ensure non-EU countries cooperate on taking back their nationals arriving as economic migrants", writes migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

News in Brief

  1. Air Berlin insolvency talks begin amid 'stitch-up' accusation
  2. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  3. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  4. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  5. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger
  6. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  7. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  8. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference