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Economic globalisation has changed the world economic order bringing new opportunities and new challenges. To compete, Europe must become more inventive, react better to consumer needs and preferences and address global and environmental challenges.

The European Commission has launched the Lead Markets Initiative for Europe (LMI) to unlock market potential for innovative goods and services by lifting obstacles hindering innovation in a first batch of six important markets: eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies. These markets are highly innovative, respond to customers’ needs, have a strong technological and industrial base in Europe and depend more than other markets on the creation of favorable framework conditions through public policy actions. European enterprises would profit from fair and better chances of entering new fast growing world-wide markets with a competitive advantage as lead producers.

The LMI will foster the emergence of the six markets by improving legislation, encouraging public procurement, making standards more innovation-friendly and by developing complementary activities (mainly through FP7 and CIP). For each market, an action plan constituting a package of policy measures that work in synergy will be implemented. This concerted action through key policy instruments is expected to speed up market expansion of fast-growing products and services, without interfering with competitive forces.

Close cooperation with Member States, industry and other stakeholders will be necessary to maximise the benefits for European companies and consumers from the implementation of the action plans.