Policy Conclusions and Recommendations
The policy aim expressed at the Lisbon summit (March 2000)– and reiterated at the recent spring Barcelona summit (March 2002) – to develop the European Union into the most efficient knowledge-based economy in the world, and hence raise substantially the amount of R&D and innovation expenditures in the European Research Area (ERA), is undoubtedly from a policy commitment perspective, a useful target, raising the awareness with national policy makers and the public at large of the importance of research, development and innovation for European long term sustainable growth, employment and welfare. Unfortunately, contrary to other, more directly policy related, macro-economic targets such as the EMU criteria of monetary unification in the nineties, the targeting of quantitative measures in the area of innovation, research and development is, to put it simply, more easily said than done. It has, as a matter of fact, been tried many times before in individual EU member countries (one may think of Harold Wilson White Heat policy campaign in the late 60’s in the UK). The attempt to set out such policy targets within the context of the development of a European Research Area raises even more fundamental challenges. As the analysis of the Commission quite correctly emphasized, there is as yet no European national system of innovation. Europe seems rather characterized by a variety of different national innovation systems. Those systems each have their pecularities, as was illustrated in the empirical analysis in Chapter 2 of this report. To “mobilise” and connect these, eventually integrate them raises many structural challenges to the supply side of Europe’s national RTD systems.