Brussels, 10 January 2008 – The European Commission has announced a new ‘Lead markets initiative for Europe’ to boost competitiveness and innovation in rapidly-growing markets of six selected sectors. The “Lead markets initiative for Europe” focuses on coordination of policies affecting the innovation performance of these sectors and on removing barriers to technological advances. It will initially support six areas: renewable energy, recycling, bio-based products, sustainable construction, textiles and health
The markets in these six sectors with high economic and societal value represent an annual turnover of more than €120 billion and 1.9 million jobs in the EU. According to the Commission, with this new initiative they may increase to over €300 billion and over 3 million jobs in the EU in 2020.
Actions in the frame of the LMI will focus on improving legislation, encouraging public procurement and developing interoperable standards. European enterprises would profit from fair and better chances of entering new fast growing world-wide markets with a competitive advantage as lead producers. LMI would also rapidly bring visible advantage for Europe’s consumers in key domains for their welfare.
The actions deploy a core set of policy instruments:
The LMI constitutes an opportunity to improve the coordination of various sets of regulations across different policy areas that affect markets for innovative products and services. Reliable, lean and well designed legislative and jurisdictional environments are essential for business to invest in innovation and for consumers to take up new products and services.
Mobilising public authorities to act as ‘launching customers’ by promoting the use of innovation-friendly procurement practices is therefore a frequent measure in the action plans, taking into account risks and regulatory limitations.
Standardisation, labelling and certification
More consistent technical, performance and product standards along the whole production chain, from raw materials to end products, could make standardisation more innovation-friendly.
In certain market areas, measures to provide business and innovation support services, training and communication are deemed a necessary complement to the above policy instruments. In some instances, financial support and incentives which aim at facilitating the interaction of customers with the innovating companies and their solutions are considered advantageous. Such schemes could involve Structural Funds and State aid funding.
The Lead Markets Initiative (LMI) is part of the EU’s broad-based innovation strategy that highlights the need for a more coherent use of all available policy tools and instruments to support innovation in Europe.