EU: Competition and Innovation

    View Author November 2011
    As illustrated by numerous policy documents, statements and its recent decision-making practice, the European Commission (`the Commission') supports investment in innovation across the EU. To mention only a few examples of its backing for research, develop-ment and innovation (`R&D&F), one should consider the 2006 R&D&I guidelines, mirrored in the 2008 General Block Exemp¬tion Regulation, which show clear legislative favour for publicly funded R&D&I projects. More recently, following the global finan¬cial crisis, the European Economic Recovery Plan provided for major funds to be set aside by EU and national institutions, as well as the European Investment Bank (`EIB'), to foster (inter alia) an increase in R&D&I activities, the development of clean technologies in the automobile industry and construction, and the roll-out of high¬speed internet networks. Last but not least, the Commission issued a Communication on 'A Digital Agenda for Europe' (`DAE') in May 2010, which sets out seven priority areas in which the Commission will take action through legislation, soft law and decision-making practice over the next 10 years. The DAE emphasises the economic importance of ICT markets, where innovation is key to success and where Europe lags behind other major world economies in many respects. Among the DAE agenda items are improving interoper-ability (favouring ICT products and services which are open and interoperable), delivering high-speed internet for all, enhancing investment in R&D&I, and applying ICT solutions to challenges such as climate change and energy efficiency.