Innovation Policy and Competitiveness (Extract from Commission note on preparations for the Competitiveness Council of 25 Sep)

September 25, 2006

Brussels, 22nd September 2006

At their 2006 Spring Summit meeting, European Heads of State and Government called on the Commission to present “a broad based innovation strategy for Europe that translates investments in knowledge into products and services. On 13 September, the European Commission tabled a 10 point programme for action at national and European levels to foster innovation as a main asset of the EU economy. Vice President Verheugen will present the innovation strategy to Ministers. ( IP/06/1181 ; MEMO /06/325

This will form the basis for the discussion by European leaders at the informal Summit due to take place in Lahti, Finland on 20 October 2006. The programme points the way forward to accompany industry-led innovation with public policies at all levels as a core element of the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs. The Commission seeks to develop the concept of "lead markets" where public authorities, facilitate industry-led innovation by creating conditions for a successful market uptake of innovative products and services in a focussed way. The Commission's response to this call is based on the following ten high priority actions:

Establish innovation–friendly education systems

- Establishment of a European institute of Technology

- Work towards a single labour market for Researchers

- Strengthen research-industry links

- Foster regional innovation through the new cohesion policy programmes

- Reform R&D and innovation State aid rules and provide better guidance for R&D tax incentives

- Enhance intellectual property rights protection (IPR),

- Digital products and services - initiative on copyright levies

- Develop a strategy for innovation friendly "lead-markets"

- Stimulate innovation through procurement

The Commission has called on Member States to make the structural reforms necessary to deliver the results required and underlined that Europe does not need new commitments from Member States but political leadership and decisive action

Item source: MEMO/06/343 Date: 22/09/2006

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