Tag Archives: Growth

Reporting of planned deficits by Member States

Reporting of planned deficits by Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reporting of planned deficits by Member States

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Stability and growth pact and economic policy coordination

Reporting of planned deficits by Member States

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2009 of 25 May 2009 on the application of the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community (Codified version) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

Member States must comply with maximum thresholds concerning their government debt and government budget deficit. The Commission is the institution responsible for ensuring that Member States meet their commitments.

This Regulation sets out the arrangements under which the Member States provide the Commission with information on their government deficit and debt.

Member States open themselves up to penalties in accordance with the excessive deficit procedure if they do not meet their budget commitments.

Rules concerning Member State reporting

Member States must provide several types of information, specifically:

  • an estimate of their government deficit for the current year (year n);
  • an estimate of their government deficit for year n-1;
  • the actual government deficits for years n-2, n-3 and n-4;
  • an estimate of their government debt level for year n;
  • the actual government debt levels for years n-1, n-2, n-3 and n-4.

Member States are required to provide this information twice a year:

  • the first time before 1 April of the current year;
  • the second time before 1 October of the same year; the reports submitted at this time are updates of the estimates submitted before 1 April.

Quality of the information provided by Member States

Eurostat is the Commission service responsible for receiving the information provided by Member States. Its role includes ensuring the quality of Member States’ data, specifically with regard to its completeness, reliability and compliance with accounting rules. Moreover, these rules are listed in the European system of national and regional accounts in the EU.

Eurostat carries out regular assessments of the quality of the data reported by Member States. It also has permanent dialogue with the authorities in the Member States. For example, it can request a detailed inventory of the accounting methods, procedures and sources used by Member States to establish their statistical data.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 479/2009

30.6.2009

OJ L 145, 10.6.2009

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 679/2010

19.8.2010

OJ L 198, 30.7.2010

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Framework for promoting employee financial participation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 5 July 2002, framework for the promotion of employee financial participation [COM(2002) 364 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

At the Lisbon Summit, the Union set itself the goal of “becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. Employee participation can make a significant contribution to realising this aim. If it is handled properly, it can not only increase companies’ productivity, competitiveness and profitability but also encourage employee participation, increase the quality of employment and contribute to greater social cohesion.

The positive results that financial participation schemes for employees have produced in many countries certainly have some bearing on the fact that this question has become a Union-wide political priority. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprises have started to become aware of the possibilities offered by such schemes, i.e. motivating employees and aligning their interests with those of the shareholders, and also recruiting and keeping staff. Employee participation in profits and enterprise results therefore goes hand in hand with a certain number of advantages for enterprises, employees and the economy as a whole.

Forms of financial participation

Financial participation of employees in the profits and results of the enterprise may take many different forms. The common element – and their main characteristic – lies in the fact that they are intended to give employees, usually all employees, access to the enterprise’s profits and/or results.

The PEPPER reports (PEPPER I and PEPPER II) on promoting employee participation in profits and enterprise results and Council Recommendation 92/443/EEC divided the types of financial participation schemes into two main categories:

  • participation in profits, i.e., sharing of profits between those providing the capital and those providing the labour by giving employees a variable income, in addition to their fixed pay, linked with the profits or another measure of the enterprise’s results.
  • employee shareholding, which offers employees indirect participation in the enterprise’s results in the form of dividends and/or appreciation of the value of the capital they hold.

This communication deals with the following main aspects of employee financial participation:

  • the general principles;
  • transnational obstacles;
  • promotion of more widespread financial participation.

General principles

A review of the various forms of financial participation has shown how different the schemes are. Nevertheless, there are some essential elements and principles which characterise the majority of the schemes and the Member States’ policies.

The general principles defined in this communication may serve as a benchmark for identifying good practice;

  • voluntary participation: schemes for financial participation must be set up to respond to the real needs and interests of all the parties concerned and should not therefore be imposed;
  • the advantages of financial participation should be extended to all employees: some of the main advantages of financial participation are that employees identify more with the enterprise and it creates a sense of belonging and increases their motivation;
  • clarity and transparency: the financial participation schemes must enable employees to fully weigh up the risks and potential advantages of the scheme;
  • predefined formula: the rules on financial participation in companies must be based on a predefined formula and clearly linked to the enterprise’s results. This is vital to guarantee the transparency of such schemes;
  • regularity: these financial participation schemes must be applied regularly (this is important as the schemes are intended to reinforce and reward sustained loyalty on the part of employees);
  • any unreasonable risk for employees should be avoided: compared with other “investors”, employees generally bear the brunt of any economic problems their company runs into. This being so, it is important to take care to prevent any risks in setting up and managing the financial participation scheme;
  • a distinction should be made between pay and income from financial participation schemes;
  • compatibility with employee mobility: financial participation schemes must be set up so as to be compatible with employee mobility, both at international level and between companies.

Transnational obstacles

Differences in tax systems, social security contributions and the general legal framework or even cultural differences frequently make it impossible for enterprises to devise and apply a joint financial participation scheme in various places in Europe.

The main transnational obstacles are as follows:

  • differences in tax systems, which can raise problems on two fronts: double taxation or no taxation and substantial administrative costs for enterprises wishing to set up financial participation schemes in various countries;
  • the level of social security contributions, which can vary from one country to another and sometime discourages enterprises from extending financial participation schemes to certain countries;
  • national differences in law which can delay the introduction of financial participation at transnational level;
  • cultural differences and diverging views on financial participation, different national traditions or differences in social relations;
  • a lack of mutual recognition of financial participation schemes;
  • lack of information on financial participation schemes and policies in favour of existing financial participation.

How to promote financial participation

In order to increase employee financial participation in profits and enterprise results in Europe, the Member States have to pursue and intensify their efforts to set up a favourable legal and fiscal environment. Furthermore, as the extent to which financial participation has become established varies from one country to another, there is considerable scope for stepping up the exchange of information and experience.

The Commission will promote the exchange of information and good practice by activities such as making comparative assessments of national policies and practices, including financial participation in the peer review programme under the Employment Guidelines or organising national conferences.

Reinforcing social dialogue

All the evidence suggests that the advantages of financial participation are greater when the schemes are introduced in a partnership with employees and when they are part of an overall approach to participatory management.

The Commission attaches particular importance to supporting the social partners’ initiatives on financial participation, including exchanges of information and experience, formation of networks and research and studies.

Financial participation and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

The advantages of employee financial participation are not confined to large enterprises with profitability concerns. SMEs can also benefit from these advantages. The Commission attaches particular importance to the specific situation of SMEs and encourages research into their specific problems.

Improving information by research and studies

The Commission continues to support and carry out research projects to provide supply any information which is missing. It focuses particularly on collecting data on how and where participation schemes are implemented, the impact of financial participation on company performance, quality of work, social cohesion and the situation of financial participation in acceding countries. It also asks the European Foundation for Improving Living and Working Conditions to pursue its activities in the field of employee financial participation.

Establishing networks

In order to step up dissemination of information and experience and to make the possibilities of financial participation more widely known, it is important to promote a permanent dialogue at European level. The Commission supports the establishment of the following networks: university networks and networks of experts, social partners, enterprises and institutes.

Financial support for financial participation initiatives

Financial support is available via various channels: the “Industrial relations and social dialogue” budget heading and Community incentive measures in the field of employment. Under Article 6 of the Regulation on the European Social Fund, the Commission may finance innovative action designed to promote new approaches and identify examples of good practice.

The activities set out in this Communication initially cover the period 2002-2004. Following this, the progress achieved in meeting the defined objectives will be assessed in a process that will closely involve all the parties concerned. A decision will be taken on future initiatives on the basis of this assessment.

Report on Employment in Europe 2005

Report on Employment in Europe 2005

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on Employment in Europe 2005

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

Report on Employment in Europe 2005

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report on Employment in Europe 2005. Recent Trends and Prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In the course of 2004, economic activity in the European Union (EU) followed two different trends. Galvanised in the first half of the year, it was gradually weakened in the latter half. Two major reasons for this were the increase in oil prices and the strength of the euro.

Economic growth in the EU was noteworthy (2.4 % for 2004 compared with 1.1 % in 2003). In this respect, the significant increase in world GDP and trade seem to have served as a stimulus.

In line with the economic reality in Europe, employment growth once again showed signs of stagnation, despite the structural improvements made possible by the European Employment Strategy (EES). This has implications with regard to meeting the Lisbon and Stockholm objectives for 2010. There are inequalities between Member States in terms of income, particularly between the Europe of 15 and the new Member States.

Although there are significant variations from one Member State to another, in relation to gender and level of qualifications, unemployment * remains high on the whole across Europe. Nevertheless, the current trend is towards a reduction in the non-working population. A more worrying phenomenon is that the EU as a whole is not making optimum use of its potential labour force. Indeed, in the absence of targeted policies, the heterogeneity of the non-working population makes it difficult to match job supply and demand.

In light of this, the report recommends making growth and employment two key objectives of the revised Lisbon Strategy.

Employment: mixed results

For the third year in succession, employment rose by only a little in 2004 (0.6 %, which is 0.3 % higher than in 2003). The average rate of employment for the whole of the EU rose by 0.4 % to 63.3 %. Therefore, despite a slight improvement over previous years, the results continue to be disappointing compared with the situation in the USA, where employment growth reached 1.1 %.

The report identifies several factors which explain this slight increase in the overall employment rate. The first is the continued increase in the employment rate among women (+ 0.7 % on average in the EU). The second is the 0.8 % increase in the employment * rate among older people (aged 55 to 64 years). Third is the stabilisation of unemployment figures compared with 2003, despite a slight increase in the rate of long-term unemployment (0.1 %).

Lisbon and Stockholm: difficult objectives

According to the report, one of the major consequences of the poor health of the employment market in Europe is slow progress in meeting the Lisbon and Stockholm objectives. As a guide, it is estimated that overall employment rates (63.3 % in 2004) are still 7 % lower than the objective set for 2010. With regard more particularly to women and older people, employment rates (55.7 and 41.0 % in 2004) are respectively around 4 and 9 % lower than initially expected.

In light of the mixed results of recent years and the difficulties posed by the 2010 objectives, the European Council has taken action by agreeing to revise the Lisbon Strategy and refocus its priorities on economic growth and employment.

Disparities in employment across Member States

While growth in employment was relatively low at EU-level in 2004, it was generally positive in the majority of Member States. As indicated in the report, only four countries experienced negative annual growth. This was the case particularly in the Netherlands, where employment fell by 1.3 %. The other three countries were Hungary (-1.2 %), Latvia (-0.2 %) and Slovakia (-0.2 %). In contrast, seven Member States achieved positive employment growth of over 1 % (in particular Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain). In Germany, positive employment growth was restored, and Poland halted its decline in this field.

Different levels of growth

As indicated in the Commission report, employment growth depends on the sector and on the status and profile of the worker. Between 2003 and 2004, the services sector continued to drive employment expansion. In contrast, employment in both the agriculture and industry sectors continued to contract in 2004. The degree of flexibility of employment is also a factor, which is why the share of part-time and fixed-term employment increased. However, the share of self-employment remained stable. Finally, since 2000, there has been a steady increase (4.4 %) in employment rates among older people aged 55-64 in almost all Member States. Young people, on the other hand, have experienced a deterioration in the labour market situation. At 18.7 %, youth unemployment in the EU is almost twice as high as the overall unemployment rate. In response to this problem, the European Council recently adopted the European Pact for Youth.

Caution still necessary

The employment prospects for 2005 and 2006 are positive overall, with an improvement which, according to the report, is in line with the pick-up in economic activity. Nevertheless, caution still needs to be exercised, especially as future progress remains largely dependent on the return of sustained business confidence, rising economic growth and the implementation of structural reforms.

Taking stock of the EES

In its report, the Commission also focuses on the EES, whose application since 1997 has made possible a number of reforms in various sectors. This has led to structural improvements in employment at EU-level, as reflected in the following:

  • lower structural rates of unemployment in most Member States;
  • lower long-term unemployment rates;
  • shorter spells in unemployment;
  • better match between job supply and demand;
  • a rise in aggregate labour demand;
  • a wage formation process that takes better account of prevailing conditions in the economy and competitiveness constraints;
  • an increase in expenditure on labour market policies and on training.

Despite structural progress, unemployment remains high. Moreover, progress in terms of labour productivity and quality (education attainment levels, the transitions from temporary to permanent jobs and out of low-paid jobs) is mixed. Finally, while there have been some signs of improvement towards greater social cohesion (reduction of gaps related to gender and age and of inequalities), the recent economic slowdown (2001-2003) may change that.

Income: a two-speed Europe

Overall there has been no sign of an increase in earnings inequality in Europe since the 1970s. Yet the report highlights marked differences between Member States, with earnings disparities in old Member States between two and four times larger than in new Member States. There are also substantial earnings disparities within Member States, from one region to another or even from one sector to another. Moreover, as in the case of employment, income is also influenced by various factors: firms’ specificities (size, organisation, structure, activity), individual characteristics of workers (skills, profession, gender, age), institutional features (bargaining schemes, type of contract).

The report therefore advocates finding the right balance between efficiency and equity in wage policies, which would help to effectively solve any dilemma between social cohesion and growth objectives.

Potential labour supply from the inactive population

As indicated in the report, in 2004, the economically inactive population of working age (15-64) for all 25 Member States totalled 92 million, corresponding to an average inactivity rate * of over 30 %. This rate varies greatly from one country to another, ranging from a low of 19.9 % in Denmark to rates of around 40 % in Hungary (39.5) and in Malta (41.7).

Overall inactivity varies according to gender and level of qualifications, but less so according to age. Inactivity is around 16 percentage points lower for men than for women. Moreover, inactivity rates are over 47 % for the low-skilled against just over 13 % for the high-skilled. However, in terms of age, the inactive population is distributed evenly with one third in each of the three main age segments – youth, prime-age and older people, despite the fact that the prime-age group is the largest one.

The report identifies five reasons for inactivity in Europe:

  • participation in education and training, corresponding to around a third of the inactive population, mainly young people;
  • retirement (20 %);
  • family or personal responsibilities (approximately 16 %);
  • illness or disability (13 %);
  • not seeking employment (4.5 %).

The report also states that, in the long term, inactivity * is gradually declining as a result of two main trends:

  • the entry into the labour market of increasing numbers of women aged over 25;
  • older people of both sexes staying in the labour market for a longer period.

Between 2003 and 2004 around 9.5 % of the inactive population moved into employment, while a further 4 % joined the unemployed category. At the same time, 3 % of the employed and almost 22 % of the unemployed withdrew from the labour force. Figures show that the potential labour supply extends far beyond the unemployed; it also comprises a sizeable part of the inactive population. In several categories of the inactive population, the tendency to work equals even that of the unemployed.

Therefore, to use the inactive population as a potential labour supply, the report calls for more systematic use of various measures such as Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) and other measures supporting job creation and opportunities. More effective targeting is also a crucial factor in supporting their labour market participation.

Background

Given the close links between economic growth and labour market performance, the slowdown in economic growth in the EU had a significant negative impact on employment creation. The report therefore recommends making growth and employment two key objectives of the revised Lisbon Strategy.

Key terms used in the act
  • Unemployment: whereby someone without a job has been actively looking for work in the four weeks prior to the survey and is willing and available to work in the following two weeks.
  • Inactivity: whereby the individual is out of the labour force, i.e. those that are neither working nor actively seeking and immediately available for work.

Related Acts

Commission Report (2004). Employment in Europe 2004[Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report (2003). Employment in Europe 2003[Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report (2002). Employment in Europe 2002[Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report (2001). Employment in Europe 2001[Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report (2000). Employment in Europe 2000[Not published in the Official Journal]

Research and innovation serving growth and employment

Research and innovation serving growth and employment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Research and innovation serving growth and employment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Job creation measures

Research and innovation serving growth and employment

To make the European Union (EU) a vibrant knowledge economy. Such is the common approach proposed by the European Commission. Its Communication describes the action to be taken at European and national levels in the fields of research and innovation from the point of view of policies, funding and company management. It also sets out the commitments and measures included in the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP).

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 12 October, More Research and Innovation – Investing for Growth and Employment [COM(2005) 488 final – Official Journal C 49 of 28.02.2006].

Summary

The goal set by the 2002 Barcelona European Council was clear: to raise overall research investment from 1.9% of GDP to approach 3% by 2010. The 3% objective and the follow-up action plan have had a mobilising effect on Member States. Nearly all of them have fixed targets, which – if met – will bring research investment in the EU to 2.6% of GDP by 2010.

However, instead of increasing, research is stagnating. In most Member States, increases in public and private research investment are inadequate. Similarly, the range and ambition of policy initiatives fall far short of what the national targets require. As for the overall objective, the situation is relatively disappointing.

At world level, the EU is faced with competition from countries such as the USA, Japan, China, India and Brazil, making it difficult to attract investment in research and innovation.

The targets

If knowledge and innovation are to serve growth to the full, the Commission and Member States must make an effort on four fronts:

  • EU policies;
  • European funding;
  • businesses;
  • research and innovation policies.

EU policies in support of research and innovation

In its Communication, the Commission emphasises the need for the EU to “ensure a favourable regulatory environment” for research and innovation. Harmonisation of all policies at national and Community levels needs to be encouraged in order to support research and innovation.

State aid is an essential policy tool for the development of research and innovation. In order to ensure its long-term and optimum effects, the Commission has recently launched a consultation document on state aid for innovation. The document puts forward concrete proposals to improve the Community’s state aid rules and hence to increase funding possibilities as well as legal certainty. The promotion of eco-innovation is also one of the Commission’s targets.

Another research and innovation issue is the protection of intellectual property (IP). This is an essential matter for most high-technology companies, and in order to attract them, the EU therefore needs a suitable protection system. To this end, the introduction of the Community trade mark and the Community Design Right constitute major progress.

The Commission has also decided to strengthen existing information and support services such as the IPR Helpdesk and to encourage better cooperation among national agencies concerned with IP. It plans to launch a dialogue with industry and other stakeholders in 2006 to determine what else might be done to provide European industry with a sound IPR framework.

A further challenge to the EU is to attract more researchers. In this connection, the aim is to create an open and competitive European labour market for researchers, enhancing diversification of competences and career paths at transnational level. Despite the progress made at national and European levels, mobility remains a source of uncertainty among researchers, especially from the legal, administrative and information points of view. In order to overcome these difficulties, the Commission will:

  • support the application and development of measures to overcome persistent obstacles faced by mobile researchers (in cooperation with the Member States);
  • foster public recognition of researchers and encourage Member States to do the same.

In order to raise awareness of the benefits of reorienting public procurement towards stimulating research and innovation, the Commission also intends to publish a handbook on the subject. The main aim here is to publicise the possibilities offered by Community public procurement law.

Finally, the Commission is planning to put forward guidelines intended to encourage the optimum use of tax incentives for research and development.

Summing up, the Member States, in order to encourage research and innovation, are called upon to:

  • transpose Community legislation accordingly;
  • fully exploit the possibilities of the new regulatory framework;
  • adopt the Community patent and, in the meantime, improve the current system;
  • support Community measures relating to human resources in the research field;
  • perhaps review public procurement practices through mutual learning and use the possibilities offered by the new legislation;
  • implement the forthcoming guidelines on a voluntary basis, taking account of national contexts.

Research, innovation and European funding

Support programmes are essential to research and innovation. This area must thus become a priority from the point of view of the allocation of public funding, at all levels. Similarly, better use should be made of public support mechanisms as an incentive for private investment, e.g. grants, equity instruments, guarantee schemes and other risk-sharing mechanisms.

To this end, several instruments have already been put in place or proposed by the Commission:

  • the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7);
  • the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP);
  • the Structural Funds;
  • the Rural Development Fund;
  • other complementary instruments, each with its specific form of governance.

As regards funding, a major effort has already been made during the 2000-2006 programming period. However, there is still more to be done at both European and national levels.

At European level, the Commission will:

  • encourage, particularly through Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion Policy, the use of the Structural Funds to encourage research and innovation. Similar efforts are being made in connection with the European Social Fund;
  • promote better access to finance for innovative SMEs;
  • support the development of new technologies and foster their market uptake;
  • mobilise national and regional research and innovation programmes and other sources of funding.

At national level, it will be a question of:

  • adopting the Commission’s proposals on the Structural and Cohesion Funds;
  • taking full advantage of the wide range of research and innovation opportunities offered by these Funds and the Rural Development Fund;
  • making full use of equity and guarantee schemes;
  • getting Member States’ financial communities to facilitate access to finance;
  • taking advantage of Community support schemes to foster transnational cooperation.

Research and innovation at the heart of business

Research and innovation contribute to the growth and wealth of businesses. Even more so when they form clusters * or networks. In order to bring research and industry permanently closer in this way, various initiatives should be encouraged at both European and Member State levels.

In order to tackle the current fragmentation of the European research and innovation system, the idea is to:

  • define and implement EU guidelines on strengthening collaboration and knowledge transfer between the research world and industry;
  • encourage innovation poles and knowledge-driven and industrial clusters;
  • make full use of the Structural Funds for the development of innovation poles and participate in EU initiatives to promote clusters * and their networking (Europe-INNOVA, “Regions of Knowledge”);
  • provide specific business support services, in particular for SMEs;
  • make full use of the Structural Funds and the network of Innovation Relay Centres;
  • encourage synergies with other business support networks (Euro Info Centres);
  • encourage best practices in innovation management by developing new self-assessment tools and creating a new European Innovation Prize;
  • design and implement a strategy to promote innovative services in the EU;
  • establish a European Industrial Research and Innovation Monitoring System to improve observation and analysis of private investment in research and innovation at sectoral level;
  • take account of the results of observation and analysis at EU level.

Towards an improvement in research and innovation policies

In view of the patchwork nature of national and regional research and innovation systems, which reduces their effectiveness, the regions, Member States and Community institutions must develop coherent and complementary policies. This is part of the revised Lisbon strategy.

The specific measures needed are:

  • monitoring and support by the Commission for the development of national research and innovation policies;
  • appropriate implementation of National Reform Programmes (NRPs) by the Member States;
  • further development and use of policy analysis instruments such as the European Trend Chart on Innovation and the Integrated Information System on National Research Policies (ERAWATCH) by the Commission in partnership with the Member States;
  • provision and use of European platforms for learning and policy coordination, especially research policy coordination under the Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST);
  • finally, the strengthening of transnational policy cooperation.

Background

This Communication follows the launching of the new Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs, which designates knowledge and innovation as one of the three main areas of action. It describes the measures to be taken in this field, in accordance with the new overarching partnership between the Community and the Member States based on the integrated guidelines (IG) for the preparation of the National Reform Programmes (NRP) and on the Community Lisbon programme (CLP).

Key terms used in the act
Cluster: a (geographical) location with an above-average concentration of industrial enterprises and research/higher education establishments operating in a particular field at world-class level or intending to do so soon. Each cluster is strengthened by the presence of risk capital and the support of the State and local authorities.

Related Acts

Communication to the Spring European Council of 2 February 2005, Working together for growth and jobs – A new start for the Lisbon Strategy [COM(2005) 24 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 4 June 2003, Investing in research: an action plan for Europe [COM(2003) 226 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission, of 11 March 2003,Innovation policy: updating the Union’s approach in the context of the Lisbon [COM(2003) 112 final – not published in the Official Journal].

I2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

i2010 is the European Commission’s new strategic framework laying out broad policy guidelines for the information society and the media. The purpose of this new, integrated policy is to encourage knowledge and innovation with a view to boosting growth and creating more better-quality jobs. It forms part of the revised Lisbon Strategy.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 1 June 2005 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment” [COM(2005) 229 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Through i2010 the Commission is taking an integrated approach to the information society and to audio-visual media policies in the European Union. It aims to coordinate the actions undertaken by Member States to facilitate digital convergence and to respond to the challenges associated with the information society. In developing this strategy, the Commission has drawn on wide stakeholder consultation concerning previous initiatives and instruments such as and the Communication on the eEurope and the Communication on the future of European regulatory audio-visual policy.

The Commission proposes three priorities for Europe’s information society and media policy to be achieved by 2010: creating a Single European Information Space; promoting innovation and investment in research into information and communication technologies (ICT); achieving an inclusive European information and media society.

A Single European Information Space

In order to foster an open and competitive internal market for the information society and the media, the first objective of i2010 is to establish a Single European Information Space offering affordable and secure high-bandwidth communications, rich and diverse content and digital services. The Commission aims to achieve four main objectives:

  • to increase the speed of broadband services in Europe;
  • to encourage new services and on-line content;
  • to promote devices and platforms that “talk to one another”; and
  • to make the Internet safer from fraudsters, harmful content and technology failures.

In order to create the Single European Information Space the Commission intends to:

  • review the regulatory framework for electronic communications; this includes defining a strategy for efficient spectrum management;
  • create a consistent internal market framework for information society and media services by:
    • modernising the legal framework for audio-visual services, starting by revising the Television Without Frontiers Directive (2005);
    • making any necessary adaptations to the Community acquis affecting information society and media services (2007);
    • promoting fast and efficient implementation of the existing and updated acquis.
  • continue to support the creation and circulation of European content such as the eLearning and eContentplus programmes and their successors;
  • define and implement a strategy for a secure European Information Society, mainly by raising awareness of the need for self-protection, being vigilant and monitoring threats, and responding rapidly and effectively to attacks and system failures;
  • identify and promote targeted actions on interoperability, particularly digital rights management.

Innovation and investment in research

In order to boost innovation and investment into ICT research, the Commission wants to encourage world-class performance in research and innovation in ICT by closing the gap with Europe’s leading competitors by:

  • increasing Community ICT research support by 80% by 2010 and inviting Member States to do the same;
  • prioritising the key technology pillars of the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development (FPRD), such as technologies for knowledge, content and creativity, advanced and open communication networks, secure and dependable software, embedded systems and nanoelectronics;
  • launching research and deployment initiatives to overcome key bottlenecks such as interoperability, security and reliability, and the management of identity and rights, which require both technological and organisational solutions;
  • defining complementary measures to encourage private investment in ICT research and innovation (2006);
  • making specific proposals on an “information society for all” in the Community Strategic Guidelines on Cohesion for the period 2007-13;
  • defining e-commerce policies aimed at removing technological, organisational and legal barriers to ICT adoption with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • developing tools to support new patterns of work that enhance innovation in enterprises and adaptation to new skill needs.

Inclusion, better public services and quality of life

The Commission wishes to boost social, economic and territorial cohesion by establishing an inclusive European information society. It intends to promote growth and jobs in a manner that is consistent with sustainable development and that prioritises better public services and quality of life. To achieve its aim of an inclusive information society, offering high-quality public services and improving quality of life, the Commission plans to:

  • issue policy guidance on e-accessibility and broadband coverage to make ICT systems easier to use for a larger number of people (2005);
  • propose a European initiative on e-inclusion, addressing issues such as equal opportunities, ICT skills and regional divides (2008);
  • adopt an Action Plan on eGovernment as well as strategic guidelines to encourage the public services to use ICTs. It will launch demo projects to test, at an operational scale, technological, legal and organisational solutions to bringing public services on-line;
  • launch three flagship ICT initiatives to improve quality of life: caring for people in an ageing society, safer and cleaner transport (and, in particular, the “intelligent car”) and digital libraries to encourage cultural diversity.

Governance

The Commission intends to develop proposals to update the regulatory frameworks for electronic communications, and information society and media services. It also proposes using the Community’s financial instruments to stimulate investment in strategic research and to overcome bottlenecks obstructing ICT innovation. Lastly, it aims to support policies to address inclusion and quality of life.

Member States, through the National Reform Programmes, have committed themselves to adopting information society priorities in line with the Integrated Guidelines for growth and jobs by mid?October 2005. They aim to:

  • ensure rapid and thorough transposition of the new regulatory frameworks affecting digital convergence with an emphasis on open and competitive markets;
  • increase the share of ICT research in national spending to develop modern, interoperable ICT-enabled public services;
  • use investment to encourage innovation in the ICT sector;
  • adopt ambitious targets for developing the information society at national level.

Member States have reported on their achievements within the framework defined by the review of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Commission will also ask other stakeholders to take part in dialogue in support of developing the information society. The Commission will target industrial partners in particular to encourage them to raise investments in research and new technologies in this field.

To ensure that all stakeholders are involved, the Commission proposes using the open method of communication, which includes an exchange of good practices and annual implementation reports in respect of the Lisbon objectives.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report: main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009 [COM(2009) 390 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

This Communication reports on the i2010 strategy implemented between 2005 and 2009. It concludes that ICT action during the last four years has modernised Europe both from an economic and a social point of view, and has contributed to the following results:

  • the number of Europeans online has increased dramatically, particularly with regard to disadvantaged groups;
  • Europe is now the world leader in broadband internet;
  • broadband connections have increased;
  • Europe is in first place with regard to mobile phones;
  • supply and use of online services has increased sharply;
  • progress has been made in the ICT sector in micro-electronics, nano-electronics, health care and road safety;
  • ICT policies have gradually been mainstreamed.

Nevertheless, the European Union still lags behind in the area of technological research and development if its results are compared with those of the United States, Japan or South Korea. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is therefore important that Europe equips itself with a new digital agenda. To this end, the Commission has planned to launch an online public consultation on some key areas for the EU’s future ICT and media policies.

Communication of 17 April 2008 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Preparing Europe’s digital future – i2010 Mid-Term Review [COM(2008) 199 final – not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission notes the strong growth of broadband in Europe.Over half of all European (250 million people) use the internet on a regular basis. Nearly 40 million new users were registered in 2007. Public services, including 96% of Europe’s schools and 57% of its doctors, are using broadband connections more and more. 77% of all businesses had a broadband connection. Broadband is becoming the standard mode of connectivity.
Apart from noting the strong growth in broadband use across the EU, however, the report puts equal emphasis on concrete proposals for a reorientation of the i2010 initiative for the 2008-10 period. The aim is to promote competitiveness in the more advanced countries whilst at the same time closing the gaps between Member States. More specifically, the Commission wants to kickstart joint technology initiatives to encourage ICT research. 2008 will see the publication of a guide to the rights and obligations of the users of digital technology in the EU in order to promote use of new on?line technology and lessen the digital divide between Member States. The Commission also plans to develop pan?European public services such as the electronic identity or electronic signature initiatives.

Communication of 30 March 2007 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: i2010 – Annual Information Society Report 2007 [COM(2007) 146 final – not published in the Official Journal].

In this second report the Commission sets out a number of recommendations and actions for 2007 and 2008 including:

  • a review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications;
  • continuing the policy of innovation in ICT with the Joint Technology Initiatives, EU standardisation policy and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP);
  • inclusion, the ongoing improvement of public services and quality of life (e?accessibility, digital literacy, eGovernment, intelligent car, energy efficiency).

In preparation for a mid-term review in 2008, the report outlines a set of preparatory measures:

  • identifying future trends, in particular in through the options offered by the new internet, in cooperation with the i2010 High Level Group;
  • launching a public consultation involving all stakeholders;
  • addressing the main issues for the mid-term review at a high level i2010 event in 2008.

The outcome of these discussions will be fed into the 2008 European Spring Council, which is to address the issues relating to the next generation internet.


Another Normative about i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Job creation measures

i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

i2010 is the European Commission’s new strategic framework laying out broad policy guidelines for the information society and the media. The purpose of this new, integrated policy is to encourage knowledge and innovation with a view to boosting growth and creating more better-quality jobs. It forms part of the revised Lisbon Strategy.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 1 June 2005 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment” [COM(2005) 229 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Through i2010 the Commission is taking an integrated approach to the information society and to audio-visual media policies in the European Union. It aims to coordinate the actions undertaken by Member States to facilitate digital convergence and to respond to the challenges associated with the information society. In developing this strategy, the Commission has drawn on wide stakeholder consultation concerning previous initiatives and instruments such as and the Communication on the eEurope and the Communication on the future of European regulatory audio-visual policy.

The Commission proposes three priorities for Europe’s information society and media policy to be achieved by 2010: creating a Single European Information Space; promoting innovation and investment in research into information and communication technologies (ICT); achieving an inclusive European information and media society.

A Single European Information Space

In order to foster an open and competitive internal market for the information society and the media, the first objective of i2010 is to establish a Single European Information Space offering affordable and secure high-bandwidth communications, rich and diverse content and digital services. The Commission aims to achieve four main objectives:

  • to increase the speed of broadband services in Europe;
  • to encourage new services and on-line content;
  • to promote devices and platforms that “talk to one another”; and
  • to make the Internet safer from fraudsters, harmful content and technology failures.

In order to create the Single European Information Space the Commission intends to:

  • review the regulatory framework for electronic communications; this includes defining a strategy for efficient spectrum management;
  • create a consistent internal market framework for information society and media services by:
    • modernising the legal framework for audio-visual services, starting by revising the Television Without Frontiers Directive (2005);
    • making any necessary adaptations to the Community acquis affecting information society and media services (2007);
    • promoting fast and efficient implementation of the existing and updated acquis.
  • continue to support the creation and circulation of European content such as the eLearning and eContentplus programmes and their successors;
  • define and implement a strategy for a secure European Information Society, mainly by raising awareness of the need for self-protection, being vigilant and monitoring threats, and responding rapidly and effectively to attacks and system failures;
  • identify and promote targeted actions on interoperability, particularly digital rights management.

Innovation and investment in research

In order to boost innovation and investment into ICT research, the Commission wants to encourage world-class performance in research and innovation in ICT by closing the gap with Europe’s leading competitors by:

  • increasing Community ICT research support by 80% by 2010 and inviting Member States to do the same;
  • prioritising the key technology pillars of the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development (FPRD), such as technologies for knowledge, content and creativity, advanced and open communication networks, secure and dependable software, embedded systems and nanoelectronics;
  • launching research and deployment initiatives to overcome key bottlenecks such as interoperability, security and reliability, and the management of identity and rights, which require both technological and organisational solutions;
  • defining complementary measures to encourage private investment in ICT research and innovation (2006);
  • making specific proposals on an “information society for all” in the Community Strategic Guidelines on Cohesion for the period 2007-13;
  • defining e-commerce policies aimed at removing technological, organisational and legal barriers to ICT adoption with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • developing tools to support new patterns of work that enhance innovation in enterprises and adaptation to new skill needs.

Inclusion, better public services and quality of life

The Commission wishes to boost social, economic and territorial cohesion by establishing an inclusive European information society. It intends to promote growth and jobs in a manner that is consistent with sustainable development and that prioritises better public services and quality of life. To achieve its aim of an inclusive information society, offering high-quality public services and improving quality of life, the Commission plans to:

  • issue policy guidance on e-accessibility and broadband coverage to make ICT systems easier to use for a larger number of people (2005);
  • propose a European initiative on e-inclusion, addressing issues such as equal opportunities, ICT skills and regional divides (2008);
  • adopt an Action Plan on eGovernment as well as strategic guidelines to encourage the public services to use ICTs. It will launch demo projects to test, at an operational scale, technological, legal and organisational solutions to bringing public services on-line;
  • launch three flagship ICT initiatives to improve quality of life: caring for people in an ageing society, safer and cleaner transport (and, in particular, the “intelligent car”) and digital libraries to encourage cultural diversity.

Governance

The Commission intends to develop proposals to update the regulatory frameworks for electronic communications, and information society and media services. It also proposes using the Community’s financial instruments to stimulate investment in strategic research and to overcome bottlenecks obstructing ICT innovation. Lastly, it aims to support policies to address inclusion and quality of life.

Member States, through the National Reform Programmes, have committed themselves to adopting information society priorities in line with the Integrated Guidelines for growth and jobs by mid?October 2005. They aim to:

  • ensure rapid and thorough transposition of the new regulatory frameworks affecting digital convergence with an emphasis on open and competitive markets;
  • increase the share of ICT research in national spending to develop modern, interoperable ICT-enabled public services;
  • use investment to encourage innovation in the ICT sector;
  • adopt ambitious targets for developing the information society at national level.

Member States have reported on their achievements within the framework defined by the review of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Commission will also ask other stakeholders to take part in dialogue in support of developing the information society. The Commission will target industrial partners in particular to encourage them to raise investments in research and new technologies in this field.

To ensure that all stakeholders are involved, the Commission proposes using the open method of communication, which includes an exchange of good practices and annual implementation reports in respect of the Lisbon objectives.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report: main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009 [COM(2009) 390 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

This Communication reports on the i2010 strategy implemented between 2005 and 2009. It concludes that ICT action during the last four years has modernised Europe both from an economic and a social point of view, and has contributed to the following results:

  • the number of Europeans online has increased dramatically, particularly with regard to disadvantaged groups;
  • Europe is now the world leader in broadband internet;
  • broadband connections have increased;
  • Europe is in first place with regard to mobile phones;
  • supply and use of online services has increased sharply;
  • progress has been made in the ICT sector in micro-electronics, nano-electronics, health care and road safety;
  • ICT policies have gradually been mainstreamed.

Nevertheless, the European Union still lags behind in the area of technological research and development if its results are compared with those of the United States, Japan or South Korea. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is therefore important that Europe equips itself with a new digital agenda. To this end, the Commission has planned to launch an online public consultation on some key areas for the EU’s future ICT and media policies.

Communication of 17 April 2008 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Preparing Europe’s digital future – i2010 Mid-Term Review [COM(2008) 199 final – not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission notes the strong growth of broadband in Europe.Over half of all European (250 million people) use the internet on a regular basis. Nearly 40 million new users were registered in 2007. Public services, including 96% of Europe’s schools and 57% of its doctors, are using broadband connections more and more. 77% of all businesses had a broadband connection. Broadband is becoming the standard mode of connectivity.
Apart from noting the strong growth in broadband use across the EU, however, the report puts equal emphasis on concrete proposals for a reorientation of the i2010 initiative for the 2008-10 period. The aim is to promote competitiveness in the more advanced countries whilst at the same time closing the gaps between Member States. More specifically, the Commission wants to kickstart joint technology initiatives to encourage ICT research. 2008 will see the publication of a guide to the rights and obligations of the users of digital technology in the EU in order to promote use of new on?line technology and lessen the digital divide between Member States. The Commission also plans to develop pan?European public services such as the electronic identity or electronic signature initiatives.

Communication of 30 March 2007 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: i2010 – Annual Information Society Report 2007 [COM(2007) 146 final – not published in the Official Journal].

In this second report the Commission sets out a number of recommendations and actions for 2007 and 2008 including:

  • a review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications;
  • continuing the policy of innovation in ICT with the Joint Technology Initiatives, EU standardisation policy and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP);
  • inclusion, the ongoing improvement of public services and quality of life (e?accessibility, digital literacy, eGovernment, intelligent car, energy efficiency).

In preparation for a mid-term review in 2008, the report outlines a set of preparatory measures:

  • identifying future trends, in particular in through the options offered by the new internet, in cooperation with the i2010 High Level Group;
  • launching a public consultation involving all stakeholders;
  • addressing the main issues for the mid-term review at a high level i2010 event in 2008.

The outcome of these discussions will be fed into the 2008 European Spring Council, which is to address the issues relating to the next generation internet.

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU

In response to a request from the European Council, this Communication sets out a broad-based innovation strategy for Europe, following on from the Communication “More Research and Innovation – Investing for growth and employment” and the recommendations in the report “Creating an Innovative Europe”. The Commission says the European Union (EU) must become an innovation-based society. The main objective is to lay down a framework for promoting all types of innovation and encouraging the development of innovation-friendly lead markets. The EU has exceptional innovation potential, however this potential is under-exploited and the European regulatory and economic framework is not conducive enough to innovation.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 September 2006 “Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU” [COM(2006) 502 final Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

To be able to compete, Europe must become more inventive, innovate more and react better to consumers’ needs and preferences. A comprehensive strategy is proposed to achieve this.

The European Union has already taken significant steps:

  • the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs of 2005 sets out policies and reforms to make Europe’s regulatory and economic framework more innovation-friendly;
  • the Commission Communication of October 2005 “More Research and Innovation” sets out a programme of 19 fields of action for the EU and the Member States;
  • the National Reform Programmes, based on the Integrated Guidelines of the 2005 Lisbon Strategy, encourage the Member States to take targeted measures to promote innovation, using the Structural Funds.

In spite of these initiatives, the EU economy is still not the innovative world economy that it should be. The report “Creating an Innovative Europe” (the Aho report) recommends urgent action to better exploit the EU’s innovation potential. According to the report, the business environment must be made more innovation-friendly. The Commission also thinks that innovation must be part of the core societal values and that citizens should not fear it but understand that it works for the benefit of all of society.

Against this background, the Communication is designed to:

  • provide a framework for discussions on innovation at national and European level;
  • identify new areas for action;
  • introduce a strategy to facilitate the creation and marketing of new innovative products and services in promising areas.

A more innovative European Union

Education is essential for the creation of an innovation-oriented society. The EU and its Member States must therefore facilitate the modernisation and restructuring of their education systems so that they can provide the skills required for innovation, in particular entrepreneurial skills as well as literacy, scientific and mathematical competence, languages and digital literacy.

The EU lacks appropriate skills, in particular in the field of science and engineering, and the absolute number of science and technology graduates is falling. This must therefore be rectified so as not to undermine the future capacity of Europe to innovate.

Transnational and structural mobility (between universities and industry) is also important to enable researchers to acquire new knowledge and find new applications. An open and competitive labour market for researchers must therefore be created.

Barriers hampering the EU’s innovation potential persist in the internal market. They affect:

  • goods and services;
  • consumers seeking access to them;
  • the mobility of workers; and
  • the availability of venture capital.

The service sector offers a major opportunity for innovation which must be exploited (the sector accounts for more than two thirds of GDP and employment). The creation of a real internal market for services and support for the funding and creation of innovative SMEs in the service sector should enable this opportunity to be seized.

The regulatory environment must be improved. Innovation calls for predictable, flexible, simple and effective regulation that reinforces consumer confidence, protects intellectual property and provides open and interoperable standards. The worldwide success of European business depends on the rapid adoption of such standards. As regards the protection of intellectual property, the Commission sees the adoption of a Community patent which is effective and affordable for business as the most important step. In the meantime, implementation of the London Protocol will help to improve the situation for business as regards intellectual property rights (IPRs). Better enforcement of IPRs on foreign markets is also crucial.

All the public and private stakeholders (business, the public sector and consumers) must be involved in the innovation process. Cooperation between them must be encouraged, in particular in the following forms:

  • clusters* in which businesses form part of a whole and interact with one another. Among other things they enhance productivity, promote research and become a focus for developing skills. The Community instruments support cluster policy because they promote innovation. Major transnational European cooperation, across national borders, should help to generate world-class European clusters;
  • knowledge transfer between the public research base and industry must be improved;
  • strategic partnerships between business and universities. These partnerships must be strengthened to bridge the cultural gap between university research and business needs;
  • the European Institute of Technology (EIT), which the Commission would like to see set up to form an integrated partnership of science, business and education for developing a new model for innovation. Students, researchers and businesses will work together in knowledge and innovation communities, in particular to develop know-how in key areas and enhance research and innovation management skills.

Innovation and research require major financial support. The national targets for research could raise the level of research and development investment across the EU if met. Some Community measures are also designed to provide better funding for research and innovation:

  • the Seventh Framework Programme which will boost the funding for collaborative research in the period 2007-2013;
  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), which will provide a new funding framework for implementing RTD (research and technological development) agendas in those sectors determining industrial competitiveness;
  • earmarking a large proportion of the EUR 308 billion from the Structural Funds for investment in knowledge and innovation;
  • the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), providing in particular for an increase of 60% in the financial instruments to support entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • the Risk-Sharing Financial Facility (RSFF), which will support private investment in high-risk RTD and demonstration projects by means of loans and guarantees;
  • the JEREMIE Initiative (Joint European Resources for Micro-to-Medium Enterprises), which will help the Member States to develop financial instruments in favour of SMEs;
  • the new state aid guidelines for venture capital, which will enable the Member States to better target state aid on market deficiencies which hamper the provision of venture capital and prevent sufficient funding for research and innovation activities;
  • the new framework for state aid for R&D (research and development) and innovation, which will, in particular, enable the Member States to channel their spending into aid for young innovative businesses, innovation advisory and support services, the loan of qualified personnel, process and organisational innovation, and clusters;
  • tax incentives for R&D and innovation.

The public sector itself must adopt innovative approaches and exploit new technologies in public administration, to lead the way in creating a more innovative society.

Lead markets

The EU must promote the emergence of lead markets to facilitate the marketing of innovative products and services in promising areas. The emergence of such markets is fuelled by the strong consumer demand for innovative products and services. The idea is to identify those sectors in which the removal of barriers will promote the creation of new markets. The stakeholders, in particular the European Initiative INNOVA and the Technology Platforms, will help to identify and remove specific obstacles to the emergence of innovation-friendly markets. Various areas are conducive to the emergence of lead markets, for example eco-innovation and construction, internal security and defence, transport, space applications and health.

Better European governance for innovation

Structural change to promote innovation must be managed by political leadership. The Member States must continue to recognise and support innovation as a key priority within the Partnership for Growth and Jobs. The Competitiveness Council is requested to regularly assess the impact of national innovation policies on competitiveness.

An improved governance structure for innovation is required to put in place the policies recommended in this Communication. It is essential to establish strong innovation systems in all Member States, building on innovation drivers such as education and knowledge transfer. National coordinating mechanisms established under the Lisbon process should be used by the Member States to monitor effective implementation of their innovation strategies. In the context of the Treaty-based multilateral surveillance, the governance structure of the renewed Lisbon Strategy provides a forum for policy discussions and the exchange of innovation best practice at Community level. The Commission’s 2007 annual report will outline the progress achieved, based on the various thematic discussions on innovation in the Council in 2006. Lastly, integrated guidelines should be adopted to guide the process over a three-year cycle, and the Commission will assess the Member States’ reforms and policies in the field of innovation.

Roadmap

Ten actions are prioritised under the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs:

  • an increase in the Member States’ public spending on education and innovation promotion via the education system and the modernisation of universities;
  • setting up a European Institute of Technology, to be operational by 2009;
  • development and implementation of a strategy by the Community and the Member States to create an open European labour market for researchers;
  • promotion of knowledge transfer between universities, public research organisations and industry;
  • mobilisation of the EU’s cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013 in support of innovation, including the earmarking of an ambitious proportion of the available funding;
  • adoption by the Commission of a new framework for state aid for research, development and innovation by the end of 2006, enabling state aid to be re-oriented and targeted at these objectives;
  • presentation by the Commission of a new patent strategy and preparation of a more comprehensive IPR (intellectual property rights) strategy;
  • development of an initiative on “copyright levies” to provide a legal framework for copyright which is more conducive to the development of new products and services;
  • introduction of a strategy in 2007 to facilitate the emergence of lead markets;
  • publication by the end of 2006 of a handbook on how public procurement can stimulate innovation.
Key terms used in the act
  • Clusters: business groupings in the same sector of activity.

 

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Consistency in the use of the various sources of European funding is a key component of the support given by the European Union (EU) to the social and economic development of its Member States. In this Communication, the Commission formulates a number of guidelines for the national authorities and regions to enable them to combine the cohesion policy programmes more effectively with the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation. Furthermore, more effective use of European funds by the Member States and the regions is also advocated.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 16 August 2007 entitled “Competitive European Regions through Research and Innovation – A contribution to more growth and more and better jobs” [COM(2007) 474 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The development of a knowledge economy is one of the key challenges of the renewed Partnership for Growth and Jobs.

The European Union (EU) possesses three key support instruments to respond to this:

  • cohesion policy via the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund;
  • the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme);
  • the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP).

The Commission aims through this Communication:

  • to bring out the synergies of design of the European funding instruments dedicated to research, innovation and cohesion;
  • to promote the translation of these synergies of design into synergies of action in relation to national and regional authorities and local actors;
  • to provide an overview of the use made of the research, innovation and cohesion policies and instruments by the Member States and the regions;
  • to open up pathways in order to optimise this use.

Respecting differences while achieving synergies

The European research, innovation and cohesion policies pursue a common goal: to combine growth with more and better jobs.

The means to achieve this are nevertheless different:

  • research policy is centred on promoting excellence internationally;
  • innovation policy promotes turning knowledge into business opportunities and new solutions for societal needs;
  • cohesion policy focuses on promoting regional excellence.

In so doing, the Commission guarantees that, beyond legal differences in approach (geographical scope or thematic scope) and methodological differences (funding through calls for tender or selection by open call for expression of interest, etc.), the various programmes can be used so as to converge towards this common objective.

The measures facilitating interaction between the programmes include harmonisation of the periods of cover (2007-2013).

Towards more synergies between research, innovation and cohesion policies

The Council of the EU (“Competitiveness” Council) and various advisory groups, such as CREST (Scientific and Technical Research Committee of the EU), EURAB (European Research Advisory Board), ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures) and the ITRE committee of the European Parliament, have recently issued recommendations to strengthen the synergies between the research, innovation and cohesion policies:

  • it would be to the advantage of national and regional authorities to develop a specific strategy for coordinated use of the framework programmes and the cohesion policy programmes as part of their research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) strategy;
  • cohesion policy and the framework programmes offer opportunities to strengthen the governance of RTDI strategies through exchange and networking;
  • consideration should be given to effective synergies, including strengthening RTDI capacity, developing excellence, paying due attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), building cooperation at European and international level and strengthening the economic exploitation of R&D;
  • optimisation of communication and collaboration between the national and regional actors seems necessary;
  • the complementarity between the “Capacities” specific programme (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the cohesion policy programmes should be given greater prominence;
  • it seems obvious that there is a need for greater synergies between cohesion policy and the 7th RTD Framework Programme on research infrastructures and that it is important to involve the “newer” Member States in the implementation of the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in a meaningful way.

Better use of European funding

Several measures are considered by the Commission to achieve better use of European funding by the various actors involved in research, innovation and cohesion:

  • a practical guide to facilitate access by research institutions or companies to EU funding sources;
  • introduction of mechanisms facilitating the sharing of ideas and the exchange of best practice, support and advice;
  • improvement of the exchange of information with national and regional authorities on the organisations which have benefited from grants under the 7th RTD Framework Programme or the CIP, in the event of complementary assistance from national, regional and European funds.

The Commission plans to take stock of the progress made at national and regional level in spring 2009.

Background

Research and innovation offer possibilities both to respond to the many challenges currently facing the EU and to boost economic growth, social responsibility and sustainable development. These two fields are suffering from a shortage of human capital.

Research and innovation are also key instruments for the sustainable management of resources (energy, in particular), to address climate change, and to deal with demographic change. Under globalisation, competitiveness of businesses depends largely on the value added to their goods and services. With this in view, European innovation-based growth has become a top priority under the renewed Lisbon agenda.

Action in favour of innovation is more effective at regional level, as physical proximity fosters the partnerships between actors. The regional clusters play a key role in the promotion of research, technological development and innovation. Regional decision-makers and entrepreneurs are best able to turn knowledge, skills and competencies into sustainable competitive advantage. However, there are significant disparities in means and performance from one region to another. There is therefore a very real risk of a divide.

The common or complementary priorities of the research, innovation and cohesion policies in the context of the Lisbon strategy are:

  • to build a European Research Area (ERA);
  • to improve results in R&D and innovation;
  • to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and regions;
  • to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the enlarged EU;
  • to promote national, regional and interregional innovation strategies;
  • to encourage innovation and innovative clusters.

Community framework for State aid for research and development

Community framework for State aid for research and development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community framework for State aid for research and development

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Research and innovation > General framework

Community framework for State aid for research and development

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission – Community framework for State aid for research and development [Official Journal C 323/1 of 30.12.2006].

Summary

The present Community framework contributes directly to the strategy for growth and jobs by:

  • extending the field of R&D to that of innovation;
  • stimulating research, development and innovation without distorting competition;
  • encouraging new investment in very specific domains such as aid to young, innovative companies or innovation clusters.

This framework is applicable as of 1 January 2007.

Aims

The aim of this framework is two-fold and entails:

  • helping Member States to devote a greater proportion of their total public aid budget to research, development and innovation;
  • optimising allocation of aid within these three sectors, taking account of economic considerations.

This should increase available funding without hindering competition or trade, whilst enhancing the effectiveness of public spending.

State aid and RDI: weighing up the positive and negative effects

To determine whether or not State aid is compatible with the common market, the Commission has to weigh up the negative and positive effects.

State aid will be authorised where it:

  • counters a failing in the market and meets an objective of common interest (growth, jobs, cohesion, environment, etc.);
  • is correctly targeted and constitutes an appropriate tool;
  • offers real added value (the net impact in terms of distortion of competition and effects on trade must be positive).

Market failings

The framework identifies the main market failings which could adversely affect research, development and innovation in relation to:

  • dissemination of knowledge;
  • coordination;
  • networking;
  • information.

To address these failings, a range of guidance has been issued for various types of State aid:

  • aid for R&D projects;
  • aid for technical feasibility studies;
  • aid to cover SMEs’ costs relating to intellectual property rights;
  • aid to young, innovative companies;
  • aid in support of organisation and process innovation in the service industry;
  • aid for recourse to innovation support and advisory services;
  • aid to SMEs for temporary employment of highly qualified personnel;
  • aid for innovation clusters *.

Control of State aid

This framework gives the Commission new means of improving the control of State aid.

To prevent major distortion, cases involving significant funding and consequently increased risks will be subject to extensive assessments.

Background

The prosperity of European concerns on a global scale requires them to be at the cutting edge of research, development and innovation, but at present these three areas are suffering a lack of investment. The most effective means of encouraging companies to invest is to promote healthy competition. Nevertheless, in some cases the market alone is unable to stimulate RDI sufficiently and recourse to State aid (although prohibited in principle by the EC Treaty) may be required. The purpose of the Community framework is to prevent the potentially disastrous consequences of excessive or ill-directed aid.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation clusters: groups of independent companies active in a particular sector and region, intended to stimulate innovation by promoting intensive interaction, resource-sharing and exchange of knowledge and know-how, effectively contributing to the transfer of technology, networking and dissemination of information between the component companies.

Related Acts


Commission Communication

of 22 November 2006 to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee: “Towards a more effective use of tax incentives in favour of R&D” [COM(2006) 728 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


State Aid Action Plan

– Less and better targeted State aid: a roadmap for State aid reform 2005-2009 [Consultation document – not published in the Official Journal].