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Latvia tops Europe's innovation scoreboard

14 July 2016, 22:02 CET
Latvia tops Europe's innovation scoreboard

Photo © Alexander Raths - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - EU innovation is catching up with Japan and the US, with Latvia the fastest growing innovator, according to the Commission's 2016 European Innovation Scoreboard released Thursday.

The main findings of the three reports are that Sweden is once again the innovation leader, Latvia has become the fastest growing innovator, and EU innovation is catching up with Japan and the US.

Innovation report

By boosting private investment and improving the framework conditions for innovation, the Commission says the EU has the potential to lead in innovation at the global stage.

Elzbieta Bienkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said the EU needed to do more to encourage innovation: "At EU level, we need to simplify VAT regulation, adapt insolvency rules, make information on regulatory requirements more easily accessible and work on a clear and SME-friendly intellectual property framework."

The main findings of the three reports are:

  • Sweden is once more the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • In selected areas of innovation, the EU leaders are: Sweden – human resources and quality of academic research; Finland – financial framework conditions; Germany – private investment in innovation; Belgium – innovation networks and collaboration; and Ireland – innovation in small and medium-sized companies.
  • The fastest growing innovators are Latvia, Malta, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the UK.
  • Regional innovative hubs exist also in moderate innovator countries: Piemonte and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, País Vasco in Spain and Bratislavský kraj in Slovakia.
  • Overall, the key driver of becoming an innovation leader is to adopt a balanced innovation system which combines an appropriate level of public and private investment, effective innovation partnerships among companies and with academia, as well as a strong educational basis and excellent research. The economic impact of innovation needs to manifest itself in terms of sales and exports of innovative products as well as in employment.
  • Specialisation in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) increases regional innovation performance, in particular in advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, and advanced manufacturing technologies.
  • Over the next two years the EU's innovation performance is expected to improve. A majority of companies plan to maintain or increase the level of investment in innovation over the next year. Businesses in Romania, Malta and Ireland are the most likely to increase their investment in innovation next year.

Further information:


European Innovation Scoreboard

Regional Innovation Scoreboard


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