24th Mar 2018


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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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"

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.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica