In his speech, the President underlined:
- the real progress that had been made in the EU, as shown in last week's publication of the 2014 Innovation Scoreboard, which contributed to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;
- the importance of innovation: "innovation has a vital role to play in the recovery and in shaping our societies of tomorrow. […] Our economic and social recovery requires innovation and competitiveness to create job and growth. […] Knowledge is a guarantee for competitiveness";
- that "innovation and skills go to the very heart of what we, In Europe, should be about in the 21st Century, in our knowledge, in our values and in our way of living."
The President reminded the audience that the EU, through its European Research Area, "remains the largest knowledge-production house in the world", and that the new 7 year budget, with Horizon2020, was 30% bigger than its predecessor and simpler to use, with less red tape so that "businesses, in particular SMEs, […] can spend more time on research and innovation and less time on administration".
The President welcomed progress on the patent, the EIT, the new risk sharing facility and venture capital passport, and looked forward to more jobs being advertised for researchers across the EU.
The President called for more to be done, in particular to ensure that the EU kept up with its global partners; that regional disparities within EU Member States were addressed; that young people were successfully brought into the field of innovation and technology through jobs and training; and that the European Research Area needed to be deepened further, including on mobility of researchers.
He called on more to be done in the single market to help innovation, growth and competitiveness:
"Let's make it clear: when in the United States a small start-up has an idea, immediately their market is their whole internal market across the United States. In Europe it is absurd, as we still have 28 digital markets. How can we compete when we still have 28 digital markets? That's why we have to break the barriers of the internal market."
The President called on governments and businesses to work together: "collaboration is essential for a smart, successful and efficient innovation on a bigger scale, improving our competitiveness, between Government and Industry and within Governments and Industry".
The EU will be publishing a Communication in June on "Research and Innovation as sources of renewed growth" and will be holding a high-level conference in the autumn on the need to identify the long-term science, technology and innovation breakthroughs that will provide Europe the opportunities to remain a global leader".
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