Related Theme: Enterprises and Industry

Today, in the 21st century, Europe remains a global scientific powerhouse, while research and innovation (R&I) are vital in meeting contemporary economic, social and environmental challenges. R&I is fundamental to Europe’s recovery from the current economic crisis and progress towards sustainable growth and jobs.

However, despite the quality knowledge Europe continues to produce, it faces important challenges, including an investment gap compared with major rivals like the US and Japan, and competition from emerging powers such as China and Brazil.

In response, the EU and its Member States need not only to pump more resources into research but also to get the most out of the investments they make. This involves enhancing crossborder collaboration, improving the mobility of knowledge, resources and researchers, and overcoming fragmentation.

R&I is vital to the Union’s strategic vision for the current decade, as reflected in the Europe 2020 strategy, which seeks to transform the EU into a true Innovation Union (IU) that can turn ideas into quality jobs, green growth and social progress.

The EESC on innovation

The EESC recognises the importance of research and innovation for the EU’s future prosperity, competitiveness and sustainability. That is why the topic has been high on its agenda for years.


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  • Published In: 2016
    4 pages
    The Circular Economy: Beneficial for All

    Transition to a circular economy is a must if we are to protect our planet, but also if we are to increase the competitiveness of European industry. This is a long-term process that will require numerous initiatives at European, national and regional level. Companies see the circular economy as an opportunity. "Going green" is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for businesses, providing real savings in terms of raw materials, water and energy. The participants of the conference entitled "Sustainable industry in the Context of Circular Economy" tried to identify major opportunities and challenges emerging from circular economy. This publication summarised the outcome of this discussion which took place on 13 September in Kosice, Slovakia.

  • Published In: 2016
    4 pages
    The Reindustrialisation of Europe Food Manufacturing, Innovation and Circular Economy

    This document is a summary of the two-day seminar organised on 26 and 27 October 2015 by the Employers' Group and its partners: Coldiretti, Confindustria, Confcommercion and AICE (Italian Association of Foreign Trade). The first day of discussion was devoted to the role of international trade in the Reindustrialisation of Europe. On the second day, the participants focused on food manufacturing, innovation and the circular economy.

  • Published In: 2015
    54 pages
    Study on the key factors affecting the future growth of Europe

    "Achieving sustainable growth in a competitive world is challenging. The challenge is even greater for the European Union, as the Old Continent faces a severe competitiveness deficit.  Without entering into a health review, that could be delivered at a further stage, of each of the 28 Member States, the ambition of this study is to draw-up a comprehensive picture of EU economic growth.

  • Published In: 2015
    4 pages
    Industrial competitiveness: how to respond to innovation challenges

    The business sector in Europe believes it is time to redefine EU priorities, by putting competitiveness first, implementing the better regulation agenda and offering better support for innovation. To improve the environment for investments in innovation and to address issues underpinning it, an appropriate framework must be put in place.


    This document is a summary of the discussion on "Industrial competitiveness: how to respond to innovation challenges, " which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 15 June 2015. The meeting was organised together with the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists.



  • Published In: 2015
    4 pages
    Innovation across Europe - best practices

    Europe is lagging behind other global players in terms of research and development (R&D). The business sector in Europe believes that if the EU is to become more competitive globally, more focus needs to be put on innovation. Greater clarity is needed in setting priorities. The most serious problem is that despite funds being allocated to basic research, the results of the research process do not make it to the market. Research and new technologies exist, but there are obstacles preventing them from being brought to customers.

    This document is a summary of the discussion on Innovation across Europe – best practices, which took place in Oeiras, Portugal, on 5 June 2015. The meeting was organised together with the Portuguese Confederation of Employers.



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