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European Innovation Scoreboard 2020

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What is the European Innovation Scoreboard?

The annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of research and innovation performance of in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours. It allows policy-makers to assess relative strengths and weaknesses of national research and innovation systems, track progress, and identify priority areas to boost innovation performance.

The EIS covers the EU Member States as well as Iceland, Israel, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. On a more limited number of globally available indicators, the EIS compares the EU with Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States.

What is the latest innovation performance of EU countries?

Based on scores for 27 separate indicators, including innovation activities in companies, investment in research and innovation, and human resource and employment elements, EU countries fall into four performance groups:

  • Innovation LeadersDenmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden perform significantly above the EU average;
  • Strong Innovators – The innovation performance of Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal is above or close to the EU average;
  • Moderate Innovators – Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain show an innovation performance below the EU average;
  • Modest Innovators – The innovation performance of Bulgaria and Romania is below 50% of the EU average.

In this year’s edition, Luxembourg (previously a Strong Innovator) joins the group of Innovation Leaders, while Portugal (previously a Moderate Innovator) joins the group of Strong Innovators. The relative innovation performance of Member States is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Performance of EU Member States’ innovation systems

Coloured columns show countries’ performance in 2019, using the most recent data for 27 indicators, relative to that of the EU in 2012. The horizontal hyphens show performance in 2018, using the next most recent data, relative to that of the EU in 2012. Grey columns show countries’ performance in 2012 relative to that of the EU 2012. For all years, the same measurement methodology has been used. The dashed lines show the threshold values between the performance groups.

EU performance leaders in specific areas of innovation:

The countries that have good overall innovation performance also perform well in most specific areas of innovation. However, some Strong and Moderate Innovators perform well on individual dimensions:

  • Attractive research systemsLuxembourg continues to be the best performing country, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. These countries are open for cooperation with partners from abroad, researchers are well networked at international level, and the quality of research output is very high.
  •  Innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)Portugal is the leader followed by Finland, Austria and Belgium. These countries are characterised by high shares of SMEs with innovative products and business processes. Ireland also leads in the employment impacts of innovation, (followed by Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden) and the sales impacts of innovation (followed by Germany, Slovakia and Belgium).
  • Innovation linkages and collaborationAustria is the top performer, followed by Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands. Companies in these countries have more versatile innovation capabilities, as they engage in innovation partnerships with other companies or public-sector organisations. The research systems in these countries are also geared towards meeting the demand from companies, as highlighted by private co-funding of public research.
  • In other innovation dimensions measured by the Scoreboard, the EU leaders are: Sweden for human resources; Denmark for finance and innovation-friendly environment; Germany for firm investment; and Luxembourg for intellectual assets.

Have Member States improved their innovation performances?

The EIS 2020 shows an improved overall innovation performance. For the EU as a whole, it increased by 8.9 percentage points between 2012 and 2019. Over the same period, the performance improved for 24 Member States, most notably for Lithuania, Malta, Latvia, Portugal and Greece, where the innovation performance grew by more than 20 percentage points (Figure 2).

Compared to the last year’s edition, performance has improved for 25 Member States, most notably for Cyprus, Spain, and Finland.

Figure 2: Change in Member States’ innovation performance since 2012

The vertical axis shows Member States’ performance in 2019 relative to that of the EU in 2012. The horizontal axis shows the change in performance between 2012 and 2019 relative to that of the EU in 2012. The dashed lines show the respective scores for the EU.

In which dimensions has Europe improved?

For the EU as a whole, performance has improved the most in the innovation-friendly environment (notably in broadband penetration), followed by firm investments, (notably in non-R&D innovation expenditure), and finance and support (notably in venture capital expenditures). All the dimensions and indicators can be seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3: EU performance change by dimension and indicator since 2012

Normalised scores in 2019 (blue coloured bars) and 2018 (black coloured bars) relative to those in 2012 (=100)

What are the key drivers of innovation?

To achieve a high level of innovation performance, countries need a balanced innovation system performing well across all dimensions. They need an appropriate level of public and private investment in education, research and skills development, effective innovation partnerships among companies and with academia, as well as an innovation-friendly business environment, including strong digital infrastructure. These key areas correspond largely to the dimensions and indicators used for the European Innovation Scoreboard.

How does the EU’s performance compare to other countries?

Comparing the EU average to a selection of global competitors, the EU continues to have a performance lead over the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and India (Figure 4). South Korea is the most innovative country, performing 34 per cent above the performance score of the EU in 2019. Since 2012 South Korea, Australia and Japan have increased their performance lead over the EU, while the gap between the EU and the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa has become smaller.

Figure 4: Current global performance

Bars show countries’ performance in 2019 relative to that of the EU27 in 2019.

In terms of relative-to-EU performance in 2019, South Korea and Canada would be Innovation Leaders. Australia, China, Japan, and the United States would be Strong Innovators, Brazil would be a Moderate Innovator, and Russia, India, and South Africa would be Modest Innovators. With regard to innovation performance growth rate, China has had the largest increase since 2012, growing at more than five times that of the EU over the period (Figure 5). For Australia, Brazil, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and the United States, performance has also increased at a higher rate than the EU. For Canada and India, performance has decreased compared to the EU.

Figure 5: Change in global performance since 2012

Change in performance is measured as the difference between the performance in 2019 relative to the EU27 in 2012 and the performance in 2012 relative to the EU27 in 2012

How is innovation performance measured in the Scoreboard?

Innovation performance in the EIS 2020 is measured using 27 performance indicators, distinguishing between ten innovation dimensions in four main categories (for a full overview of the indicators, see Table 1 in the Annex):

  • Framework conditions capture the main drivers of innovation performance and cover three innovation dimensions: human resources, attractive research systems, and innovation-friendly environment.
  • Investmentsinclude public and private investment in research and innovation, distinguishing between external finance and support, and own-resource investments.
  • Innovation activitiescapture the innovation efforts at the company level, covering three dimensions: innovators, linkages, and intellectual assets.
  • Impacts illustrate how innovation translates into benefits for the economy as a whole: employment impacts and sales effects.

No changes have been made to the performance indicators since the in-depth review for the 2017 edition. However, due to data revisions for some indicators, results are not comparable across editions.

In response to a need for contextual analyses to better understand performance differences between the innovation indicators used in the main measurement framework, a set of contextual indicators was introduced to the country profiles in the 2017 edition and revised the following year. These contextual indicators include economic, demographic and governance dimensions such as sectoral employment, population, economic growth, and business environment conditions. For this year’s report, no changes have been introduced and the report presents an analysis of structural differences in terms of economic structure and performance, business and entrepreneurship, demography, and governance and policy framework in a series of country profiles.

EU Politics

Commission proposes draft mandate for negotiations on Gibraltar

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The European Commission has today adopted a Recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an EU-UK agreement on Gibraltar. The Commission also presented its proposal for negotiating guidelines.

It is now for the Council to adopt this draft mandate, after which the Commission can begin formal negotiations with the United Kingdom.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s co-chair of the Joint Committee and Partnership Council, said: “By putting forward this draft mandate, we are honouring the political commitment we made to Spain to start the negotiations of a separate agreement between the EU and the UK on Gibraltar. This is a detailed mandate, which aims to have a positive impact for those living and working on either side of the border between Spain and Gibraltar, while protecting the integrity of the Schengen Area and the Single Market.”

Gibraltar was not included in the scope of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed between the EU and UK at the end of 2020. The Commission committed to begin the negotiation of a separate agreement on Gibraltar, should Spain request so. That is why the Commission is now recommending that the Council authorises the launch of specific negotiations on Gibraltar.

Draft mandate

Today’s Recommendation builds upon the political understanding reached between Spain and the UK on 31 December last year. It is without prejudice to the issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction, and focuses on cooperation in the region.

The proposed negotiating directives put forward solutions to remove physical checks and controls on persons and goods at the land border between Spain and Gibraltar, while ensuring the integrity of the Schengen area and the Single Market. The proposals include rules establishing responsibility for asylum, returns, visas, residence permits, and operational police cooperation and information exchange.

Other measures are included in different areas, such as land and air transport, the rights of cross border workers, the environment, financial support, and establishing a level playing field. It envisages a robust governance mechanism, including a review of the implementation of the agreement after four years, the possibility for both parties to terminate the agreement at any time and the possibility of unilateral suspension of the application of the agreement under certain circumstances.

Spain, as the neighbouring Schengen Member State and as the Member State to be entrusted with the application and implementation of certain provisions of the future agreement, will be particularly affected by the agreement. The Commission will therefore maintain close contacts with the Spanish authorities throughout the negotiations and afterwards, taking their views duly into account.

With regard to external border control, in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational support, any Member State, including Spain, may request Frontex assistance in implementing its obligations. The Commission acknowledges that Spain has already expressed its full intention to ask Frontex for assistance.

Background

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement excluded Gibraltar from its territorial scope (Article 774(3)). On 31 December 2020, the Commission received a note of the proposed framework for a UK-EU legal instrument setting out Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. The relevant services in the Commission have examined this in close consultation with Spain. Building upon the proposed framework and in line with Union rules and interests, the Commission has today adopted a Recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an EU-UK agreement on Gibraltar and presented its proposal for negotiating guidelines.

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Commission overhauls anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism rules

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The European Commission has today presented an ambitious package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. The package also includes the proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. This package is part of the Commission’s commitment to protect EU citizens and the EU’s financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim of this package is to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and to close loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system. As recalled in the EU’s Security Union Strategy for 2020-2025, enhancing the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing will also help to protect Europeans from terrorism and organised crime.

Today’s measures greatly enhance the existing EU framework by taking into account new and emerging challenges linked to technological innovation. These include virtual currencies, more integrated financial flows in the Single Market and the global nature of terrorist organisations. These proposals will help to create a much more consistent framework to ease compliance for operators subject to AML/CFT rules, especially for those active cross-border.

Today’s package consists of four legislative proposals:

Members of the College said:

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that works for people, said: “Every fresh money laundering scandal is one scandal too many – and a wake-up call that our work to close the gaps in our financial system is not yet done. We have made huge strides in recent years and our EU AML rules are now among the toughest in the world. But they now need to be applied consistently and closely supervised to make sure they really bite. This is why we are today taking these bold steps to close the door on money laundering and stop criminals from lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains.”

Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner responsible for financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union said: “Money laundering poses aclear and present threat to citizens, democratic institutions, and the financial system. The scale of the problem cannot be underestimated and the loopholes that criminals can exploit need to be closed. Today’s package significantly ramps up our efforts to stop dirty money being washed through the financial system. We are increasing coordination and cooperation between authorities in member states, and creating a new EU AML authority. These measures will help us protect the integrity of the financial system and the single market.”

A new EU AML Authority (AMLA)

At the heart of today’s legislative package is the creation of a new EU Authority which will transform AML/CFT supervision in the EU and enhance cooperation among Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). The new EU-level Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) will be the central authority coordinating national authorities to ensure the private sector correctly and consistently applies EU rules. AMLA will also support FIUs to improve their analytical capacity around illicit flows and make financial intelligence a key source for law enforcement agencies.

In particular, AMLA will:

  • establish a single integrated system of AML/CFT supervision across the EU, based on common supervisory methods and convergence of high supervisory standards;
  • directly supervise some of the riskiest financial institutions that operate in a large number of Member States or require immediate action to address imminent risks;
  • monitor and coordinate national supervisors responsible for other financial entities, as well as coordinate supervisors of non-financial entities;
  • support cooperation among national Financial Intelligence Units and facilitate coordination and joint analyses between them, to better detect illicit financial flows of a cross-border nature.

A Single EU Rulebook for AML/CFT

The Single EU Rulebook for AML/CFT will harmonise AML/CFT rules across the EU, including, for example, more detailed rules on Customer Due Diligence, Beneficial Ownership and the powers and task of supervisors and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). Existing national registers of bank accounts will be connected, providing faster access for FIUs to information on bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. The Commission will also provide law enforcement authorities with access to this system, speeding up financial investigations and the recovery of criminal assets in cross-border cases. Access to financial information will be subject to robust safeguards in Directive (EU) 2019/1153 on exchange of financial information.

Full application of the EU AML/CFT rules to the crypto sector

At present, only certain categories of crypto-asset service providers are included in the scope of EU AML/CFT rules. The proposed reform will extend these rules to the entire crypto sector, obliging all service providers to conduct due diligence on their customers. Today’s amendments will ensure full traceability of crypto-asset transfers, such as Bitcoin, and will allow for prevention and detection of their possible use for money laundering or terrorism financing. In addition, anonymous crypto asset wallets will be prohibited, fully applying EU AML/CFT rules to the crypto sector.

EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments

Large cash payments are an easy way for criminals to launder money, since it is very difficult to detect transactions. That is why the Commission has today proposed an EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments. This EU-wide limit is high enough not to put into question the euro as legal tender and recognises the vital role of cash. Limits already exist in about two-thirds of Member States, but amounts vary. National limits under €10,000 can remain in place. Limiting large cash payments makes it harder for criminals to launder dirty money. In addition, providing anonymous crypto-asset wallets will be prohibited, just as anonymous bank accounts are already prohibited by EU AML/CFT rules.

Third countries

Money laundering is a global phenomenon that requires strong international cooperation. The Commission already works closely with its international partners to combat the circulation of dirty money around the globe. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, issues recommendations to countries. A country that is listed by FATF will also be listed by the EU. There will be two EU lists, a “black-list” and a “grey-list, reflecting the FATF listing. Following the listing, the EU will apply measures proportionate to the risks posed by the country. The EU will also be able to list countries which are not listed by FATF, but which pose a threat to the EU’s financial system based on an autonomous assessment.

The diversity of the tools that the Commission and AMLA can use will allow the EU to keep pace with a fast-moving and complex international environment with rapidly evolving risks.

Next steps

The legislative package will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Council. The Commission looks forward to a speedy legislative process. The future AML Authority should be operational in 2024 and will start its work of direct supervision slightly later, once the Directive has been transposed and the new regulatory framework starts to apply.

Background

The complex issue of tackling dirty money flows is not new. The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is vital for financial stability and security in Europe. Legislative gaps in one Member State have an impact on the EU as a whole. That is why EU rules must be implemented and supervised efficiently and consistently to combat crime and protect our financial system. Ensuring the efficiency and consistency of the EU AML framework is of the utmost importance. Today’s legislative package implements the commitments in our Action Plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorism financing which was adopted by the Commission on 7 May 2020.

The EU framework against money laundering also includes the regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders, the directive on combating money laundering by criminal law, the directive laying down rules on the use of financial and other information to combat serious crimesthe European Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the European system of financial supervision.

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EU Politics

New EU guidance helps companies to combat forced labour in supply chains

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The Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have published today a Guidance on due diligence to help EU companies to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains, in line with international standards. The Guidance will enhance companies’ capacity to eradicate forced labour from their value chains by providing concrete, practical advice on how to identify, prevent, mitigate and address its risk.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said: “There is no room in the world for forced labour. The Commission is committed to wiping this blight out as part of our broader work to defend human rights. This is why we put strengthening the resilience and sustainability of EU supply chains at the core of our recent trade strategy. Businesses are key to making this happen, because they can make all the difference by acting responsibly. With today’s Guidance, we are supporting EU companies in these efforts. We will ramp up our due diligence work with our upcoming legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance.”

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “Forced labour is not only a serious violation of human rights but also a leading cause of poverty and an obstacle to economic development. The European Union is a global leader on responsible business conduct and business and human rights. The Guidance we publish today translates our commitment into concrete action. It will help EU companies to ensure their activities do not contribute to forced labour practices in any sector, region or country.”

The Guidance explains the practical aspects of due diligence and provides an overview of EU and international instruments on responsible business conduct that are relevant for combatting forced labour. The EU has already put in place mandatory standards in some sectors and actively promotes the effective implementation of international standards on responsible business conduct.

Promoting responsible and sustainable value chains is one of the pillars of the recent EU trade strategy. The Guidance delivers on the strategy by helping EU businesses already take the appropriate measures, bridging the time until legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance is in place. This upcoming legislation should introduce a mandatory due diligence duty requiring EU companies to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for sustainability impacts in their operations and supply chains. Subject to the upcoming impact assessment, this will include effective action and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that forced labour does not find a place in the value chains of EU companies.

EU trade policy already contributes to the abolishment of forced labour through its various instruments. EU trade agreements are unique in including binding commitments to ratify and effectively implement all fundamental ILO Conventions, including those on forced labour. Those conventions include an obligation to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labour in all its forms. This commitment extends to the countries benefitting from the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) under the EU’s General Scheme of Preferences (GSP). All 71 beneficiary countries of the General Scheme of Preferences are obliged to not commit serious and systematic violations of the principles of the fundamental ILO Conventions.

The Guidance also delivers on a number of the priorities of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 in the area of business and human rights. Those priorities include the eradication of forced labour and the promotion of internationally recognised due diligence standards.

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