A European Innovation Stress Test


Stimulating and retaining innovation in the EU is essential to improving productivity, growth, jobs, living standards and prosperity.

To ensure that all new EU regulations take this into account and help promote innovation and innovators, and to encourage the EU institutions to place innovation at the heart of their actions to support the European economy, the EESC suggests creating and applying a European Innovation Stress Test.

This idea emerged in an EESC opinion drafted in response to a request from the Belgian Presidency of the Council. The opinion defines innovation as primarily encompassing new and improved products, services, production processes and ways of organising and doing business, including both radical and incremental changes, using all forms of tangible, technological and intellectual advances.

The EESC emphasises that public authorities should promote innovation at regional and local level, taking into account potential geographical imbalances across the Union.


Key points

The EESC recommends that the current and next European Commissions should introduce a European Innovation Stress Test to screen each new piece of legislation and policy initiative. 

The proposed ten-point test should include the following  questions:

Does the new legislation/policy initiative:

  • protect consumers and the environment, recognise the need for innovation to enable the EU's green and digital transitions, help create more and better jobs and stimulate the economy? (Yes)
  • ensure joined-up policymaking so that policies create investor confidence and stimulate innovation, but do not create barriers for innovation investment in the EU? (Yes)
  • ensure clear understanding by innovators and investors? (Yes)
  • comply with use of the European Commission's Better Regulation toolbox? (Yes)
  • actively include involvement of innovators and investors across the full spectrum to ensure policies do not or will not undermine investor confidence? (Yes)
  • recognise legitimate concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest and provide transparency on these issues? (Yes)
  • take account of the best available and most up-to-date weight of scientific evidence? (Yes)
  • negatively impact availability of the skills, human capital and education needed for innovation, research and development? (No)
  • result in actions which could generate a gender imbalance? (No)
  • conflict with existing or future tax incentives for innovation or research and development in Europe? (No)

Link to full opinion


Additional information

EESC section responsible: Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT)

Opinion type: exploratory opinion

Rapporteur: Olivier Joris (Employers – BE)

Date of adoption by section: 20/12/2023

Result of the vote: 83 votes in favour, none against, with no abstentions

Date of adoption by plenary: 17/1/2024

Result of the vote: 223 votes in favour, none against, with two abstentions



Daniela Marangoni

Press officer

Tel.: + 32 2 546 8422 | Mob: +32 475 99 94 32

Email: daniela.marangoni@eesc.europa.eu


Marco Manfroni

Policy officer

Tel.: +32 2 546 9140

Email: marco.manfroni@eesc.europa.eu