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C 149/4 EN Official Journal of the European Union 26.6.

2003

COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS

of 13 May 2003
on ‘strengthening European innovation policy’

(2003/C 149/02)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, 3. RECOGNISES THAT:

1. RECALLING: — innovative activity driven, inter alia, by a high level of


competition between enterprises is a key factor in stimu-
lating productivity growth and competitiveness;
— the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council on the
strategy for making the EU the world's most competitive
and dynamic knowledge-based economy, capable of
— innovative activities and technological breakthroughs are
sustainable economic growth with more and better
key factors to achieve sustainable development;
jobs and greater social cohesion by 2010 and the
further elaboration of this strategy by the Stockholm,
Gothenburg and Barcelona European Councils;
— the full scope and importance of the innovation
phenomenon requires developing a better understanding
— the Council conclusions of 5 December 2000 on inno- of the drivers of innovation in the European context;
vation as a factor for competitiveness;

— enlargement has the potential to change significantly the


— the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council Union's innovation performance thus creating new
which called for a significant boost of the overall R&D opportunities and challenges;
and innovation effort in the Union;

— the EU needs to improve the environment for innovation


— the conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council in order to close the gap with its major trading partners;
concerning enlargement;

— enterprises are at the heart of the innovation process,


— the Council conclusions of 3 March 2003 on the and innovation policy must have positive effects on their
promotion of entrepreneurship and small firms; behaviour, capabilities and operating environment;

— the contribution of the Competitiveness Council to the


Spring European Council 2003 adopted on 3 March — innovation policy should form part of a coherent
2003; framework of policies for developing the competitiveness
of European enterprises;

— the conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 20


and 21 March 2003, giving priority to innovation and — innovation policy should, where appropriate, be comple-
entrepreneurship and stressing the need for Europe to do mented by a sectoral dimension, inter alia in relation
more to turn ideas into real value-added. with specific technologies;

2. WELCOMES: — access to finance is a prerequisite for creating favourable


conditions for innovative enterprises, in particular for
small firms; the Innovation Initiatives of the European
— the Commission's Communication on ‘Innovation policy: Investment Bank could play an important role towards
updating the Union's approach in the context of the this aim;
Lisbon strategy’ which stresses the multi-dimensional
nature of the innovation phenomenon;
— the sixth RTD framework programme and the devel-
opment of the European research area (ERA), including
— the Commission's intention to increase its efforts to improved synergies with European initiatives and coor-
foster a European Innovation Policy that contributes to dinated joint efforts such as Eureka, must play an
strengthening European competitiveness and progress important role in encouraging and stimulating inno-
towards a knowledge-based economy. vation;
26.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 149/5

— frontier and leading edge technologies and technologies — business investment in R & D and innovation in the
of a strategic nature, such as space technology, advanced Union should be increased, moving towards the
information and communication technology, biotech- Barcelona objective of approaching 3 % of GDP;
nology and defence and security related R&D could
play an important role in stimulating innovation and
competitiveness; — measures supporting the creation of framework
conditions such as highly competitive markets, well-
functioning capital markets, including seed and venture
capital, sophisticated consumer demand and a supportive
— the exchange of good practice and experience within the regulatory environment are conducive to innovation;
Union, as well as the reduction of obstacles to inno-
vation, could contribute to increasing the innovation
performance of the Union as a whole in order to meet — joint public and private partnerships in particular in
the Lisbon objectives; R & D, including through the use of support infra-
structures, such as science parks and business incubators,
contribute to the effectiveness of public investments in
— the Common political approach adopted by the Council innovation;
on 3 March 2003 gives strong impetus to the
Community patent, which is of crucial importance for — flexible, mobile and skilled human resources are required
the protection of intellectual property and to stimulate for innovation and that the quality of education and
innovation. training, including vocational training, must be
improved in order to move towards a knowledge-based
economy.
4. EMPHASISES THAT:

5. CONFIRMS that European innovation policy development


— innovation goes beyond technological innovation and requires in particular:
can take many other forms, such as through the devel-
opment of new business concepts, new means of — interaction with other policy areas for improving the
distribution, marketing or design and through organisa- environment for innovative enterprises;
tional or presentational change;
— stimulation of greater market dynamism, including the
— the speed and efficiency of the spreading of innovation acceptance of new products by customers and the
through the economy is critical to productivity, emerging concept of ‘lead markets’;
economic growth and job creation; advanced electronic
communications are a powerful engine within the — public sector involvement resulting from its role as a
Information Society which contributes to the major user of new products and services (e.g.
momentum of this process; e-government);

— enterprises must be considered as central to innovation — strengthening the regional dimension of innovation
in Europe and small firms should benefit from improved policy, notably by the development of clusters of
business support services facilitating access to technical, excellence.
financial and legal information and advice;
6. INVITES THE MEMBER STATES AND ACCEDING COUNTRIES TO:

— the emergence of new firms such as new technology


based firms (NTBFs) and spin-offs, such as those — build and strengthen innovation strategies, ensuring a
arising from universities and private knowledge-based well-coordinated approach among national and regional
companies, is a strong force for innovation in many authorities;
sectors and that it is these firms which often have
strong potential for growth; — define policy objectives in the field of innovation,
reflecting the specificity of their respective innovation
systems, and views of the most appropriate route to
— R & D and technology transfer are essential for achieving improved innovation performance;
long-term economic growth, while recognising that
they must be accompanied by measures to facilitate
the successful exploitation of results, such as proto- — create favourable framework conditions that foster inno-
typing, testing and adaptation, engineering, reengi- vation and take into account the specificities of small
neering and demonstration; firms;

— improve indicators within the context of an upgraded


— well-functioning co-operation between the science sector European innovation scoreboard and to set their own
and industry is one of the major factors facilitating inno- quantitative and/or qualitative targets on a voluntary
vation in enterprises; basis;
C 149/6 EN Official Journal of the European Union 26.6.2003

— encourage national statistical offices in improving the best means of taking into account market failures in
collection of comparable, up-to-date statistical data of generating innovation and its dissemination;
quality in the area of innovation, while taking into
account the need not to increase the burden on enter- — continue its support for the efforts of Member States'
prises when collecting data; regional authorities in devising innovation policies;

— promote innovation through public authorities as — support acceding countries in rapidly developing their
providers of advisory and support services, as framework for innovation, and extend the European
implementers of regulatory and administrative rules, innovation scoreboard to give the same coverage to
and through their role as a major consumer of acceding countries as to the current Member States;
products and services; — report regularly on progress in strengthening innovation
— encourage regional and local authorities in the devel- policy at national and EU level.
opment of innovation strategies building on specific 8. INVITES THE MEMBER STATES, ACCEDING COUNTRIES AND
regional or local strengths and cross-border partnerships THE COMMISSION TO:
involving all relevant actors;
— cooperate in further developing the analysis and
— continue their efforts to improve innovative firms' access discussion of the innovation process, policies and
to competitively rated finance, and consider the potential performances;
for encouraging innovation where appropriate through
various forms of policy incentives; — ensure appropriate coordination of innovation policy, on
a voluntary basis, at EU, national and regional levels;
— redirect State aid, as necessary, towards stimulating inno-
vation, bearing in mind the need for a global reduction — strengthen existing processes, in the framework of the
of State aid. Trend Chart on Innovation in Europe, enabling Member
States to learn from each other's experience in inno-
7. INVITES THE COMMISSION TO:
vation policy development and implementation;
— ensure a well coordinated approach for a European inno-
— contribute to promoting innovation in the public sector
vation strategy, in particular by improving framework
by promoting training and awareness activities on
conditions for innovation;
policies and factors shaping the innovation performance
— upgrade the European innovation scoreboard to take of firms;
account of the multidimensional nature of innovation
— exchange good practices and consider launching
and increase the coherence of the various policy bench-
initiatives offering, on a voluntary basis, independent
marking exercises, for example, European innovation
evaluations of individual national programs, schemes
scoreboard, enterprise scoreboard, science and tech-
and support agencies for promotion of innovation;
nology key figures;
— take into account the impact of its initiatives on the — intensify their cooperation and create a framework of
innovation performance of enterprises, in particular common objectives for strengthening innovation in the
small firms; EU, including an assessment mechanism for taking stock
of the progress achieved, while respecting the charac-
— strengthen existing procedures and processes enabling teristics of national innovation systems and the
Member States and acceding countries to learn from diversity of national approaches;
each other's experience in the development and
implementation of innovation policy; — actively engage in the definition of further action
required in order to support the Council's work in
— support the creation of an environment conducive to rapidly progressing towards more favourable conditions
innovation by considering, in particular, when in which business can innovate, with a view to
reviewing the Community framework on state aid, the contributing effectively to reaching the Lisbon objectives.