Focus on the Market Environment more than on Indicators to Boost Innovation, says Finnish Presidency Minister Vanhanen

October 2, 2006

Brussels, 29 Sep 2006

'The Lisbon strategy concentrates too heavily on indicators and resources - in reality, we need to understand that innovation relies above all on a good market environment that is conducive to innovation,' Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen told the Finnish Parliament on 28 September. The Finnish Prime Minister was giving a mid-term review of his country's EU Presidency, but also looked to Finland's remaining three months at the helm, and promised that much more is to come, particularly on innovation.

An informal meeting of the EU's Heads of State and Government will take place on 20 October in Lahti, Finland. The focus of the meeting will be innovation and energy, and it will be one of the highlights of the Finnish Presidency according to Mr Vanhanen. The meeting is designed to 'build consensus and political will on a few key issues', he said.

Mr Vanhanen intends the Lahti meeting to transform delegates' mind-sets on innovation. To create a market environment conducive to innovation, 'we must boldly identify what policies need to be implemented to make the EU more innovation-friendly. If we get this market environment right, then the desired indicators will follow,' he said.

The Prime Minister also emphasised why innovation is a key theme for his Presidency: 'we need to recognise that economic growth with the EU, our very competitiveness in relation to the rest of the world, relies on innovation. Innovation receives the prize it deserves, but we need to move beyond declarations. The EU is not innovation-poor, but we have a real problem in transforming innovations into products, world-class companies, global market share and good jobs.'

On energy, the debate will address the EU's external policy, and how to make better use of political contacts to strengthen the EU's energy objectives of openness, transfer and security. The Heads of State and Government will also discuss how to best link the EU's neighbours, in particular Norway, Algeria and Russia, to the Union's internal market on energy. 'The EU energy market works better if its main producers cooperate closely with it,' said Mr Vanhanen.

For further information on the Finnish Presidency's research activities, please visit:

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