2014, The past
Europe now has the largest internal market in the world, an educated workforce, and many of the world’s leading innovative companies. And we are among the world’s top performers in excellent science and innovative products. We are in the same league as our international competitors such as the United States, Japan and South Korea.
We are also ahead in key science and technology fields such as health, food, renewable energies and environmental technologies, and over recent years, Europe’s ecosystem for innovation has improved markedly. However, the economic impact of our R&I investments and reforms ultimately depends on the capacity of our economies to become even more knowledge-oriented and innovation-driven. In the next years in Europe we need to “invest and prepare our economies for the future”. The success of the Innovation Union depends not only on the greater efficiency of public policies but also on putting in place and fully exploiting the right framework conditions to stimulate Europe’s companies to innovate.
After just a year of moderate growth, the momentum of the EU economy began to slow in spring 2014. In the second half of this year, GDP growth in the EU is set to be very modest, while in the euro area it will almost stagnate.
The slowdown in Europe has occurred as the legacy of the global financial and economic crisis lingers on in the form of deleveraging pressures and incomplete internal and external adjustment. A weakness of potential growth that was already visible in low productivity gains in the pre-crisis years has been exacerbated by the contraction in capital formation and the increase of structural unemployment since 2008.