Switzerland continues to set the pace for innovation in Europe, followed by Sweden, according to this year’s edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard, published today.
In the last year, high-tech dynamism has increased in only seven member states, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, and the UK. It has declined in 17 countries.
The EU is failing to catch up with its global competitors. The bloc is outperformed by South Korea, the US, and Japan. China is also growing faster than the EU and closing the gap, the report says.
Germany is again the leading investor in science R&D, followed by Estonia, while Belgium’s innovation system gets top marks for the frequency of joint activities between companies and public sector labs.
Latvia has become the fastest growing innovator, but it is starting from a very low position.
The ranking says Finland is the best place for companies to find risk capital. Elsewhere in Europe, a “strong decline in venture capital investments” is seen.
The worst performers in the ranking are Bulgaria and Romania, both countries scoring far under the EU average.
The ranking compares performance in areas such as funding for innovation, business investments, numbers of highly educated workers, exports and sales in the high-tech sector, and use of intellectual assets.
Reacting to the scoreboard, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said the EU is working on a list of reforms which could have a positive impact on innovation across Europe.
“We need to simplify VAT regulation, adapt insolvency rules, make information on regulatory requirements more easily accessible and work on a clear and SME-friendly intellectual property framework,” she said.