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Prospects and challenges: the framework for the
development of science and innovation in Europe

Science and innovation, an essential factor for
competitiveness and growth in Europe
- to use the power of public spending
by including in the revision of the
EU procurement directives, concrete
innovation-friendly measures.

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission

E

urope needs innovation more than
ever before to support sustainable
growth and create new jobs, to
replace those lost in the crisis. To keep
up with growing global competition, we
must leave the comfort zone of businessas-usual. Building on Europe’s assets
– the skills and energy of its people, the
innovative potential of its businesses, the
huge scope for getting more out of the
Single Market – the European Union and
its Member States need to accelerate
the necessary reforms to deliver on our
common Europe 2020 agenda.

much fragmentation across Europe,
too much duplicated work, not enough
competition and too many barriers
preventing knowledge and researchers
from circulating freely.

The 2011 Innovation Union Scoreboard
shows that Member States that
traditionally invested more in research
and innovation weathered the economic
turmoil better.

Our Innovation Union flagship initiative,
a key pillar of our growth and jobs
strategy, is about building bridges and
pooling resources between European
and national research and innovation
systems, between public and private
sectors, between the world of science
and the world of business, between
Europe and our international partners. It
is about doing more, better and faster by
removing the bottlenecks for innovative
ideas to be turned into products and
services that create growth and jobs. It
is also about promoting excellence by
training, attracting and retaining the best
and the brightest from Europe and from
outside Europe.

We are making good progress. In 2011,
we presented regulatory proposals which
will bring a step change for innovative
business across Europe:
- to create a unified patent, cutting the
costs of patenting in Europe by 80%;
- to modernise and accelerate standardsetting, which is so important to create
the markets of the future;

far in three areas: sustainable energy,
climate change and Information and
Communications Technologies.

In addition to these legislative measures,
we have also launched initiatives to
accelerate the transfer of research and
innovation to market, for example through
European Innovation Partnerships. We
started in the area of Active and Healthy
Ageing with the very concrete objective
to enable people to live longer in good
health.

In February of this year, we also
celebrated the fifth anniversary of the
European Research Council, which has
become a remarkable success story for
Europe. Being focused on excellence
in research, it has played a key role in
stimulating competitiveness and growth,
as well as societal developments, for
example by tackling the biggest diseases
of our times, such as cancer or Alzheimer.

Another good example is the European
Institute of Innovation and Technology
launched in 2008. I am happy to say that
it has successfully reached its objective
of bringing together higher education
institutions, research organisations and
businesses, in partnerships operating so

Last but not least, the Joint Research
Center, which I recently visited, has now
become a multi-disciplinary European
scientific reference centre with seven
institutes located in five Member States,
a unique bridge between European Union
policy and European society as a whole.

My appointment of a Chief Scientific
Adviser, Professor Anne Glover, is also a
signal of the importance placed in having
a sound scientific basis to all our policies
across the board.
Finally, looking ahead, Horizon 2020,
the €80 billion investment programme
for research and innovation after 2014,
proposed by the European Commission
at the end of last year, together with the
new cohesion policy, will provide a further
push to strengthen our Innovation Union.
The crisis is a test of our willingness to act
together. I believe we are on the right track
but must maintain our efforts. Innovation
is nothing less than our capacity to create
the future we aspire to. Together we can
make it happen.

- to create a single market for venture
capital funds, so that funds can raise
capital more easily across Europe and
better invest in innovative European
enterprises;

History shows that there is no sustainable
path to growth and prosperity outside the
research-innovation-education triangle.
With an ageing population and strong
competitive pressures from globalisation,
Europe’s future economic growth and
jobs will have to come from innovation in
products, services and business models.
This is a lesson to remember as the
European Union economy is going
through the most challenging time in its
history and as we try to restore confidence
and fiscal sustainability.
We need smart, growth-friendly, fiscal
consolidation. Currently, there is too

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The European Files

President Barroso visits the Ispra Joint Research Centre

The European Files

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