Innovation Policy and Competitiveness (Extract from Council press release on the Competitiveness Council of 25 September)

September 26, 2006

Brussels, 25 Sep 2006

On the basis of a Presidency questionnaire ( 12585/06 ), the Council held a public exchange of views on innovation and competitiveness following a presentation by Commission Vice president Günther Verheugen of a recently adopted Communication "Putting knowledge into practice: a broad based innovation strategy for the EU" ( 12940/06 ).

The Council welcomed the Presidency's intention to conduct further preparatory work on a broad based innovation policy strategy, focussing on the ten key actions described in the Commission's Communication. Taking into account guidance emanating from the informal meeting of Heads of State and Government on 20 October 2006 at Lahti, the Council's preparatory bodies will submit a draft text of conclusions on innovation policy for adoption to the 4 December Competitiveness Council, which will be submitted to the December European Council and will serve as input to the Key Issues Paper for the 2007 Spring European Council.

The Commission in its Communication 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. Primary targets are areas that respond to societal demands (e.g. areas such as transport or health, internal security, eco innovation). The Commission proposes the following 10 priorities for action:

Action 1: Establish innovation friendly education systems

Action 2: Establish a European Institute of Technology

Action 3: Work towards a, single and attractive labour market for researchers

Action 4: Strengthen research industry links

Action 5: Foster regional innovation through the new cohesion policy programmes

Action 6: Reform R&D and innovation state aid rules and provide better guidance for R&D tax incentives

Action 7: Enhance intellectual property rights protection (IPR)

Action 8: Digital products and services ­ initiative on copyright levies

Action 9: Develop a strategy for innovation friendly "lead Markets"

Action 10: Stimulate innovation through procurement 8

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