On 6 October 2010, the European Commission presented in a communication one of the seven flagship initiatives of its "Europe 2020" strategy, entitled Innovation Union. This strategic approach aims at capitalising on the EU's strengths in order to turn towards more sustainable growth and a more competitive European economy. This approach is also designed to allow the public sector to intervene in order to galvanise the private sector, in order to remove obstacles such as lack of financing or the under-utilisation of public procurement contracts for innovation.
For example, lifting investment on research and development to 3% of the European Union's GDP would create 3.7 million jobs and increase annual GDP by €795 billion by 2025.
The following key elements are needed to achieve Innovation Union:
- European Innovation Partnerships: by mobilising public and private players, as well as European, national, and regional players, these partnerships would be able to promote R&D and coordinate investment. Their aim is to speed up development and roll-out of new technologies. The European "Smart Cities" initiative is an example of European Innovation Partnerships to which the Bouygues group is contributing.
- An innovative financing mechanism that pools both public and private financing, or bonds: this would make major infrastructure projects more attractive to private investors. With this in mind, the European Commission is cooperating closely with the European Investment Bank. A budget of €230 million has been earmarked for the Project Bonds pilot phase, which will be extended until 2014.
- The European Intellectual Property regime is also set to be modernised via the introduction of a European patent.
- The European Commission's Innovation Union site
- The Commission's communication about Innovation Union