Sweden and Finland were both dubbed innovation leaders in the scoreboard, performing at a rate that is almost 136 per cent of the EU average. The former edged out the latter for the top spot by 0.2 percentage points with a rate of 135.7 per cent.
Finland stands out favourably in the comparison due to strengths such as lifelong learning, public-private co-publications and collaboration between small and medium enterprise. Indeed, Finland’s performance is increasing at a rate higher than the EU as a whole, and enjoys a faster growing economy and higher per capita income when compared with the bloc.
Business process innovators, sales of innovative products and broadband penetration have increased noticeably in Finland since last year. There is still room for improvement, however. The likes of resource productivity, government support for business R&D, non-R&D innovation expenditures, medium and high-tech goods exports and population with tertiary education in Finland were all flagged as relative weaknesses.
Elsewhere, Denmark (134.8%), the Netherlands (129.3%) and Belgium (128.8%) earned the status of an innovation leader for outperforming the average by at least 25 per cent. Overall, the scoreboard reveals that innovation performance in the 27-country bloc has improved by about 10 per cent since 2021, with 19 members registering an improvement and eight a decline in performance.
While Australia, Canada, Korea and the US continue to outperform the EU, the bloc has closed the gap to its global competitors and overtaken Japan since 2021.
“Europe’s autonomy and competitiveness will depend on our capacity to become a technological and commercial leader in strategic areas such as space, defence, hydrogen, batteries, chips, quantum and high-performance computing,” stated Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market.
The EU’s innovation agenda, support schemes for startups and small and medium enterprises, industrial alliances, and important projects of common interest are already yielding innovative projects across the continent.
“This is how we translate our scientific excellence into technological and industrial leadership, and quality jobs in Europe,” said Breton.