Innovation performance keeps improving in the EU

Innovation performance keeps improving in the EU
21 June 2021

Today, the Commission released the  European Innovation Scoreboard 2021, which shows that Europe's innovation performance continues to progress across the Union. On average, innovation performance has increased by 12.5% since 2014. There is continued convergence within the EU, with lower-performing countries growing faster than higher-performing ones, therefore closing the innovation gap among them. According to the 2021 Regional Innovation Scoreboard, also published today, this trend applies to innovation across EU regions.

In the global landscape, the EU is performing better than some of its competitors like China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and India, while South Korea, Canada, Australia, the United States, and Japan have a performance lead over the EU. Comparing the EU average to a selection of global competitors, South Korea is the most innovative country, performing 36% above the score of the EU in 2014 and 21% above the EU in 2021.

This year's European Innovation Scoreboard is based on a revised framework, which includes new indicators on digitalisation and environmental sustainability, bringing the scoreboard more in line with the EU political priorities.

Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groupsInnovation leaders, Strong innovators, Moderate innovators and Emerging innovators. The performance groups tend to be geographically concentrated, with the Innovation Leaders and most Strong Innovators being located in Northern and Western Europe, whereas most of the Moderate and Emerging Innovators in Southern and Eastern Europe

  • Sweden continues to be the EU  Innovation Leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium, all with innovation performance well above the EU average
  • Performance has increased the most in Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Lithuania, with an increase of 25% or more.
  • Belgium, Croatia, Finland, and Sweden had a performance improvement of between 15% and 25%.
  • For Austria, Czechia, Germany, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland and Spain, performance improved between 10% and 15%.
  • Bulgaria, CroatiaFrance, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia witnessed an improvement in performance of up to 10%.
  • Innovation performance has increased for 225 regions out of the total of 240 regions over the period since 2014.
  • The most innovative region in Europe is Stockholm in Sweden, followed by Etelä-Suomi in Finland, and Oberbayern in Germany. Hovedstaden in Denmark is in fourth place, and Zürich in Switzerland is in fifth place. 

Image © European Commission, 2021


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