Common action at the EU level can add real value by improving the framework conditions for research and innovation in the EU. The Europe 2020 flagship initiative on an Innovation Union describes how Europe can deliver real added-value to boost innovation. Europe must become an environment conducive to innovation, through effective standardisation, better use of intellectual property rights, innovation-friendly public procurement and measures to help small, innovative companies to secure financing. This memo outlines some of the key issues that are on the table of this week's European Council meeting.