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Research, Innovation and Science

Building the Innovation Union - Seminar on Innovation Union at the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences

Sweden's national innovation framework conditions show clear strengths in several areas, you have a stable macro-economic environment, with a well educated workforce and a clutch of R&D-intensive, multi-national corporations. These strengths are reinforced by Sweden's excellent integration into global markets.

Stockholm, 10 December 2010

Mr O Nilsson,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Royal Academy for Engineering Sciences for inviting me to speak at this seminar.

I can think of few better locations or few better occasions to speak about excellence in research and innovation.

As every year, Stockholm is hosting the Nobel prize ceremonies. Besides the awards for peace, literature and economics, the Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry and medicine - pay tribute to world-beating excellence in science and research. I am very proud to be representing the European Commission at the ceremony this evening.

In June this year, Europe's leaders, including Mr. Reinfeldt, endorsed the 'Europe 2020' Strategy. This is a kind of economic roadmap for Europe. It aims to get the European economy back on track. At its heart is the conviction that we need innovation to get Europe out of the current economic crisis and to build long-term sustainable growth.

Economists are notorious for disagreeing with each other. They also tend to be rather equivocal. You often hear them saying "on the one hand this ... but on the other hand that." US President Harry Truman famously got so fed up, he called for a "one handed economist!"

But there is one point on which economists are unanimous and quite unequivocal: the importance of innovation.