Address by UNICE President, following presentation by Commissioner Potocnik of new key figures on Science, Technology and Innovation in Europe (link)

July 21, 2005

Brussels, 19 July 2005

  • Disappointing economic performances in the EU have reflected the declining trend in our growth potential which is currently below 2% (compared to 3.5% in the US). The EU is anymore an engine for growth and its performances sharply contrast with the US growth figures, most of the time above 3% over the last ten years. The OECD has recently confirmed that once again, recovery in the EU lacks momentum this year with expected slowdown to 1.2% in the euro area (and an estimated 1.7% for the EU).

  • The fact that economic growth in the EU has remained at a low level for several years, shows no sign of a dynamic upturn, reflects a lack of confidence among economic operators regarding investment in Europe. This lack of confidence is now also visible in companies' R&D spending in Europe: the Commission's report shows that corporate R&D expenditure in Europe is growing at a very slow pace, broadly equivalent to GDP growth, itself very sluggish. This trend runs counter to the Lisbon agenda which wanted public and private R&D spending to rise at a markedly higher rate than GDP, in order to accelerate the innovation process and the associated job creation.

  • The problems which are at the root of this virtual stagnation in R&D expenditure in Europe are largely structural; they have to be remedied through far-reaching economic regulatory reforms that restore investment-friendly conditions. It is not a willingness to invest that is missing. The fact that the R&D investments of European companies in USA are growing healthily proves this (the figure in 2001 was € 5 billion).


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    Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe
    Union des Confédérations de l'Industrie et des Employeurs d'Europe Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

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