Background paper prepared by the EIB on its new "Innovation 2010 Initiative" (link)

March 5, 2003

Brussels, 04 Mar 2003

Full text of Document 6925/03

Delegations will find attached, in view of the Spring European Council on 21 March 2003, a background paper prepared by the EIB on its new "Innovation 2010 Initiative", as its contribution to the knowledge based economy and to the Lisbon strategy.

Innovation 2010 Initiative
EIB extends its lending priority in support of the Lisbon process

Summary

In the three years to April 2003, EIB will have approved under i2i (called so far "Innovation 2000 Initiative") some EUR 15 billion of lending for investment in innovation, fulfilling the mandate given to the Bank in Lisbon.

The Bank now proposes to establish innovation as a leading theme of EIB finance for the entire decade and accordingly rephrases i2i to stand for "Innovation 2010 Initiative".

The extension of the i2i as a lending priority builds on the experience gained over the first three years. The main strategic goals of Lisbon remain unchanged, but with, on the one hand, an additional specific objective defined in Barcelona relating to R&D and, on the other hand, significant changes having occurred in the economic environment since March 2000.

Innovation 2010 Initiative proposes an integrated approach focusing on the links between knowledge creation and the market. It covers all phases, from education, to research and development, transformation into innovation, and subsequently into productivity gains and market competitiveness.

* It sees the innovation process as a "Knowledge Net" composed of enablers (e.g. an educated labour force, quality ICT infrastructure...), intermediates (e.g. R&D), and outputs (e.g. new commercial activities and applications...). The Bank's intervention will focus on areas where funding and other bottlenecks impede total factor productivity to increase.

In implementing its priority lending, EIB adjusts to market developments and investor needs. Based on its i2i experience so far and on policy dialogue with the Commission, EIB expects that three areas should predominate:
* education & training,
* research & development and innovative downstream investment (products and processes), notably in the private sector
* creation and dissemination of ICT (hardware, and content and applications).

Innovation 2010 Initiative is to include a strong cohesion and regional element. It is a pan-European initiative covering EU15, the new Member States and Candidate Countries (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey). It will also include the Western Balkan countries.
* Annual targets for lending under Innovation 2010 Initiative will be set in the context of the EIB's successive Corporate Operational Plans. It is expected that some EUR 20 billion will be made available from mid 2003 to mid 2006. In 2006, the approach will be adjusted if necessary for the following years.

Introduction: Lisbon, i2i and follow-on

The Lisbon European Council (March 2000) set the strategic goal for the EU in this decade "to become 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". The Bank's initial contribution to this ambitious objective consists in its "Innovation 2000 Initiative" (i2i), which over a period of three years envisages dedicated lending of 12-15 billion for innovation rich investments, as well as stepping up venture capital operations (through the EIF). By end 2002 i2i has already largely reached its initial aims (cf. annex for more details):

* 14.4 billion worth of loans have been approved, and 10.8 billion signed; a number of other projects are moreover at a conceptual stage or under evaluation;

* i2i has shifted EIB lending towards R&D and innovation projects while continuing to be a policy oriented initiative with a flexible approach adjusting to market developments and catering to investor needs;

* a significant part of i2i lending (59%) went to assisted areas within the Union, or to the Candidate Countries (7%);

* EIF's venture capital portfolio amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, of which 67% are linked to technology related investments. In 2002, investments in technology oriented funds had a particular focus on life sciences and biotechnology.

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