The Netherlands has risen two places in the ranking of the most innovative countries in the European Union, according to the result of the European Commission Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, a ranking of EU Member States.
The Netherlands is now in 5th place, behind Sweden (1st), Germany (2nd), Denmark (3rd) and Finland (4th). The Netherlands continues to progress in the rankings, moving up to 5th place this year from 7th place in the ranking.
The EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard rates countries in terms of research investment; employment in knowledge-intensive activities; the contribution of medium and hi-tech product exports to the trade balance; exports of knowledge-intensive services; sales due to innovation activities and licenses; and patent revenues from selling technologies abroad.
This year’s results also again show that South Korea, the US, and Japan have a performance lead over the EU.
South Korea’s lead over the EU is increasing, but since 2008 the EU has been able to close almost half its gap with the US and Japan. The EU still lags considerably behind the global leaders notably in terms of business R&D expenditures, public-private co-publications, and patents, as well as in tertiary education. The EU continues to perform better than Australia, Canada, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Industry Commisioner Antonio Tajani said that the EU‘s economic crisis had “negatively impacted innovation activity in some parts of Europe,” adding that it was crucial to regain lost ground in order to remain globally competitive.
Progress had been made last year, for example, by establishing a single EU patent and new rules for venture capital funds, according to Research and Innovation Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, but she said more was needed to avoid an “innovation divide” in Europe.
The innovation leaders in Europe included Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland, which showed a performance well above the EU average.
Innovation followers included the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Austria, Ireland, France, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia, which performed above the EU average.
Moderate innovators included Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Lithuania, which performed below the EU average.