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The European Commission has released the European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, which shows that innovation performance in Europe continues to improve.

Europe has surpassed the United States for the second year in a row. However, the bloc remains behind Asian countries and global champions such as South Korea, Australia and Japan, according to the Scoreboard.

On average, the innovation performance of the EU has increased by 8.9% since 2012. Performance has increased the most in Lithuania, Malta, Latvia, Portugal and Greece.

About two-thirds of Europe’s economic growth over the last decades has been driven by innovation.

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Other key study findings:

  • This year’s Scoreboard is marked by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. This has had a small impact on the EU’s average innovation performance, but has not affected the relative performance of Member States in relation to EU’s global performance. 
  • Sweden continues to be the EU Innovation Leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. This year Luxembourg (previously a Strong Innovator) joins the group of Innovation Leaders, while Portugal (previously a Moderate Innovator) joins the group of Strong Innovators.
  • At the global level, the EU has for the second year surpassed the United States. The EU continues to have a performance lead over the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and India. Since 2012, the EU’s performance gap with South Korea, Australia and Japan has increased, while the EU’s performance lead over the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa has decreased. China has had the largest innovation performance growth rate amongst the EU’s main competitors since 2012, growing at more than five times that of the EU.
  • In selected areas of innovation, the EU leaders are: Sweden– human resources; and innovation-friendly environment; Luxembourg – attractive research systems; intellectual assets; Denmark – innovation-friendly environment; finance and support; Germany – firm investment; Portugal –innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises; Austria – linkages and collaboration; Ireland– employment impacts and sales impacts.

Thierry Breton, commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “This year’s scoreboard shows that the EU is already a good place to do innovation, but we need to further step up efforts across the EU to find global solutions to contain the virus, and at the same time, help Europe’s recovery from the crisis. More than ever, innovation is important since it lies at the heart of our efforts to beat the Coronavirus pandemic.” 

Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for research, science and innovation, adds: “In the current context of the coronavirus crisis, Europe’s frontier research and cutting-edge technology must be more than ever turned into solutions to protect and improve the life of EU citizens. The European Innovation Scoreboard measures key innovation elements in the EU and Member States and identifies which areas need to be improved to ensure recovery and support the green and digital transitions.”

Read more about European Innovation Scoreboard 2020.