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Research and innovation

Recommendations for research and innovation policies at national level: European Semester

2020 spring package and the role of research and innovation in the recovery

The Commission’s policy to coordinate and improve national policies

Since 2010, the European Semester has been providing the framework to coordinate and improve social and economic policies across the EU. 

Each year, the Commission undertakes a detailed analysis of each country's plans for budget, macroeconomic and structural reforms. It then provides EU governments with country-specific recommendations for the next 12 to 18 months.

Research and innovation is an integral part of this process and a good example of how cooperation and dialogue between the Commission and EU countries leads to better and more impactful policies.

Spring 2020 guidance and recommendations for research and innovation

The spring 2020 Communication and country-specific recommendations provide economic policy guidance to all EU countries for the next 12 to 18 months.

They underline that innovation is critical to a productive Europe and provide research and innovation country-specific recommendations for 22 EU countries.

The EU is facing an unprecedented economic shock resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, that has very severe socio-economic consequences.

EU countries are facing 2 simultaneous challenges

  • adopting urgent measures to tackle and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic
  • frontloading measures to restart growth

The Communication makes the following points related to research and innovation

Science-driven solutions to support recovery and a green, fair and digital transformation of our societies

The economic agenda set out in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey 2020 aims to achieve competitive sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the green and digital transitions. It remains more valid than ever and should be at the heart of the EU recovery strategy.

Science-driven solutions are supporting fundamental systemic change of our economy and society towards a green, fair and digital transformation, in support of the European Green Deal objectives.

Close the productivity gap

Research and innovation plays a key role in productivity growth, through innovation and technological diffusion and investments in intangible assets like intellectual property and patents.

Knowledge creation and diffusion policies are needed to close the gap in productivity performance between highly productive economies and frontier firms, and the rest.

Address the innovation divide

There is an innovation divide between advanced EU countries and those in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe.

Policies that can effectively address the divide cover

  • research and innovation investments
  • scientific excellence
  • stronger science-business links and business innovation (innovation-friendly regulation, the right conditions for the creation, scale up and orderly exit of firms, access to risk capital)

Tackle the pandemic

Generating more cost-effective innovations and finding vaccines, diagnostics and treatments are key to tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Partnership with Member States on Health Care Systems Transformation within Horizon Europe aims at pooling a critical mass of scientific resources and boosting research on cost-effective technological, service, organisational and policy innovations, and will play an important role.


20 MAY 2020
European semester 2020 country reports: research and innovation sections
(1.99 MB - PDF)