Brussels, 25 Feb 2005
The latest figures on research and development (R&D) expenditure from Eurostat show that overall investment is now nudging the two per cent mark.
In 2002, R&D expenditure accounted for 1.93 per cent of GDP in the EU 25 - an increase of 0.11 per cent since 1998. The overall increase is not huge, but a number of countries have seen a significant growth in investment.
Sweden and Finland remain the biggest spenders in terms of R&D, investing 4. per cent and 3.51 per cent of GDP respectively. These two countries also remain the only ones to have met the Barcelona goal of investing three per cent of GDP in research.
The majority of EU Member States managed sustained growth in research expenditure in the five years up to 2002, with the fastest growth rates registered by Estonia, Cyprus ad Hungary. Each saw growth of more than 11 per cent annually in real terms. Overall growth for the EU was 6.47 per cent - higher than the US' 5.83 per cent and Japan's 6.16 per cent, but dwarfed by China's growth of 18.51 per cent.
The Barcelona target stipulates that two thirds of R&D investment should be made by the private sector. This balance is evident in three countries: Sweden (71.9 per cent), Finland (69.5 per cent), and Ireland (67.2 per cent). Luxembourg appears at the extreme end of the scale, with 90.7 per cent originating from business, while some other countries actually experienced a decrease in private sector research investment, namely Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Overall, in 2001, 55 per cent of the EU25's R&D expenditure was financed by business. This compares to 73.9 per cent in Japan, 64.4 per cent in the US and 57.6 per cent in China.
The Eurostat figures indicate that the EU's R&D intensity grew by 1.48 per cent in real terms over the five years to 2002. The figure for the EU15 is 1.7 per cent over the same period.
For further information, please consult the following web address:
http:///epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/cache/ITY _OFFPUB/KS-NS-05-002/EN/KS-NS-05-002-EN. PDF