Council calls for integrated policies to boost competitiveness

In a meeting focused on enhancing Europe’s competitiveness, the EU Competitiveness Council emphasised the importance of research, technology, innovation and knowledge to economic growth.

Ministers agreed that ‘the goal of making the EU a dynamic and competitive, knowledge-based economy remains essential to achieving a sustainable growth with more and better jobs and greater
social cohesion.’

They talked of a need for more integrated policies, in particular in relation to the functioning of the single market; a stronger knowledge triangle (research, innovation, education); improving
conditions for enterprises and entrepreneurship; and fighting climate change.

The Council also acknowledged the need to put more emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to do more to promote the role of research and development (R&D) and
innovation.

Indeed, the Council invited the Member States and the Commission to encourage long-term public-private partnerships in R&D and innovation, notably by setting up Joint Technology Initiatives
(JTIs) under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and Knowledge and Innovation Communities in the context of the European Institute of Technology (EIT).

The Member States and Commission were also invited to develop a comprehensive strategy for intellectual property rights (IPR) in Europe, and to begin a discussion on the progress of the EU’s
‘broad-based innovation strategy’.

Precedence was also given to the importance of e-skills. The Member States were invited to further develop their long-term e-skills strategies, include these strategies in their national reform
programmes, and bear in mind the specific needs of SMEs when designing them.

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