22 September 2022
Since the Lisbon strategy, launched by the European Council on 23-24 March 2000, the EU's ambition has been to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. The growing effects of the ecological crisis, from climate change to the loss of biodiversity, digitalisation and mounting geopolitical tensions have broadened the scope of innovation policies to the transformations required by both sustainability and preparedness to crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the EU's innovation performance gives a mixed picture. While the EU has managed to keep its scientific base at the forefront of the global race, it has not been able to disseminate the new knowledge, technologies and solutions created by EU actors across Member States. Consequently, since the early 1990s, the euro area's average productivity rate has lagged behind that of the United States, and the gap in productivity among EU regions signals the existence of an innovation divide. With the adoption of a communication on a new European innovation agenda on 5 July 2022, the European Commission aims to encourage innovators to make better use of EU single market finance opportunities, as well as to attract new private and public investors to reinforce EU financial and capital markets. The communication presents a set of legislative and non-legislative initiatives based on five flagships areas – access to finance; framework conditions for deep tech innovation; tackling the innovation divide; deep tech talents; and improving innovation policies – which cut across the von der Leyen Commission's political priorities. The initiatives will allow EU investment to be targeted to promoting scale-up of EU innovative businesses, and to provide additional cooperative opportunities for all EU actors in the fields of education and research and innovation (R&I). The forthcoming adoption of the revised State aid framework for R&I is expected to incentivise further national and regional R&I investments, thus delivering on the five flagships.