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31.7.2014 : 3:16

The Innovation Union marks its first anniversary

Dear Friends,

The European Union is currently engaged in the fight of its life: a fight for jobs and prosperity during a severe economic and financial crisis. At the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy adopted last year by the EU Member States is the conviction that we need to innovate to get Europe back on the path to growth. We also need Europe to innovate in order to tackle our major societal challenges such as sustainable mobility, climate change, energy security, health and our ageing population. These ideas are at the core of Innovation Union, presented a year ago today by the European Commission. It is urgent that we all do everything we can to achieve Innovation Union.


There is a commitment to act, and act together. This is clearest in the strong backing of the strategy and its goals by EU Heads of State and Government and by the European Parliament. Even in times of hard choices for governments, there is agreement that investing in research and innovation is essential for Europe’s future. This is why we have worked so hard in the first year since the launch of Innovation Union.

 

The Commission has held wide-ranging stakeholder consultations to prepare the legislative proposals for our future research and innovation financing, for innovation procurement, and for cross-border venture capital investments. We have already tabled proposals for a unified European patent and for modernising and speeding-up standard setting. We have adopted measures to make participation in the current EU Research Framework Programme more attractive and more accessible to the best researchers and most innovative companies, especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. By the end of this year, we will put forward a proposal for an EU-wide venture capital scheme that will help our best innovators and entrepreneurs, and we will present a communication on  modernising the EU public procurement framework.


We launched the first European Innovation Partnership, on Active and Healthy Ageing, dedicated to adding two healthy years to our lives. We have started a wide-ranging consultation on the European Research Area, to achieve a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation by 2014. Most importantly, the European Commission is now working to finalise our proposal for Horizon 2020, the most ambitious research and innovation funding programme to date. The Commission is proposing to increase significantly this investment in growth and jobs, with a budget of 80 billion euro between 2014 and 2020. Horizon 2020 will be built around three distinct, mutually reinforcing pillars that support our Europe 2020 and Innovation Union goals. Firstly, we want to strengthen the EU’s world-class position in science and research. Secondly, we will support even more business research and innovation. Thirdly, we intend to focus on tackling the major challenges faced by our society.


Innovation Union is all about capitalising on our brightest and most innovative ideas - so the first European Innovation Convention will take place on 5 and 6 December in Brussels with that in mind. Opened by President José Manuel Barroso and bringing together global innovation leaders from the world of science, business, politics and the arts, it will be an important milestone in the drive for a more innovative and more prosperous Europe.


More important than any single event or policy is that we work for Innovation Union each and every day. I strongly believe that with your engagement, enthusiasm and commitment, we will reach that goal and help deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for Europe.


Please visit the Innovation Union website at ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/ for regular updates, or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/innovation.union.


Sincerely,
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

12 October 2011