Council presents strategic priorities for innovation
The Competitiveness Council became the second EU institution to set out strategic priorities for strengthening innovation in Europe.
In September the Commission launched a 10-point innovation plan calling for urgent action at regional, national and European levels and across a range of policy areas. The Council's nine-point strategy largely mirrors that of the Commission, but places less of an emphasis on technological innovation.
'Under Finland's leadership, innovation policy has now advanced to the top of the economic agenda in the EU,' said Council Chair and Finnish Minister for Trade and Industry, Mauri Pekkarinen. 'With these guidelines we can really enhance the European innovation efforts, and thus switch our competitiveness into high gear.'
The Competitiveness Council's priorities are as follows:
1. intellectual property rights (IPR);
2. creating a pro-active standard-setting policy;
3. making public procurement work for innovation;
4. launching Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs);
5. boosting innovation and growth in lead markets;
6. enhancing closer cooperation between higher education, research and business;
7. helping innovation in regions;
8. developing a policy approach to innovation in services and to non-technological innovation;
9. risk capital markets.
In the Council's draft conclusions it invites the Member States to implement the strategy's points at national level, and invites the Commission to submit a number of communications.
For example, the Council invites the Commission to present an initiative on lead markets in 2007. Lead markets are 'about creating conducive frameworks for innovation in specific areas of the economy where European firms could have a globally leading role, but where due to reasons related to e.g. burdensome regulation and systemic failures in policy and legislative coherence, this potential remains currently unrealised', says the Council.
Ministers suggest that initiatives could be introduced for the following technologies: low carbon technologies; eco-innovation; e-health; intelligent transport systems; digital content; energy efficiency; bioenergy/biotechnology; nanotechnology; satellite navigation and Earth observation; security; ICT, and marine technologies.
Under the heading 'enhancing closer cooperation between higher education, research and business', the Council notes that it considers knowledge transfer to be an important component of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and that it should therefore be an important criterion for the programme's evaluation.
Ministers also discussed the proposed European Institute of Technology (EIT) under this heading, and invited the Commission to offer further clarification on outstanding issues, and in particular on 'the budgetary implications of establishing the EIT'.
The draft conclusions also acknowledge that existing EU and national innovation policy instruments do not always adequately take into account the specific needs of the services sector. 'There is a need to take a comprehensive look at policies relevant for services and reassess their focus from the viewpoint of service-related and non-technological innovation,' agreed the Council.
The strategic priorities are to be submitted to the European Council for endorsement in December, and are then likely to become part of the Lisbon Strategy. The Competitiveness Council states that it will regularly update the priorities and monitor their implementation. It will also hold an annual strategic debate on innovation.
To read the Council's conclusions in full, please
Category: General policy
Data Source Provider: Council of the European Union
Document Reference: Based on the draft conclusions of the 2769th Council meeting
Subject Index: Innovation, Technology Transfer