Thursday

20th Sep 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  2. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  3. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  4. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  5. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  6. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt
  7. Stop 'migration blame-game', Tusk tells EU leaders
  8. McDonald's Luxembourg tax deal 'compatible' with EU rules

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner
  2. EU mulls action to prevent cattle suffering at Turkish border
  3. Safeguarding Schengen at Salzburg
  4. Denmark's image 'damaged' by bank scandal
  5. Real Brexit progress needed by October, Barnier says
  6. Poland to face EU top court on rule of law
  7. Austria's EU presidency: a bridge over troubled water?
  8. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us