The European Commission published the results of the fifth European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) on January 12. Brussels believes that, if the current trend continues, the gap between the 25 member states of the European Union and the United States will not narrow. Northern countries—Finland, Sweden, Denmark—scored the best, but Germany and Switzerland also did well. Five key aspects of innovation were examined: innovation drivers, knowledge creation, innovation and entrepreneurship, application, and intellectual property. According to the Commission, the EU invests nearly one third less in research than does the United States, a disparity that is increasing rather than decreasing.

Meanwhile, notes the Commission, China and India are emerging as first-rate research and innovation centers. The scoreboard divides the European countries into four groups:

Leading countries: Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany
Average performance: France, Luxembourg, Ireland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Italy, and Iceland
Catching up: Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta
Losing ground: Estonia, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Turkey

The scoreboard reveals significant national disparities. While northern countries, Switzerland and Germany stand out from the crowd, taking the prize as the most innovative countries, new member states are behind on meeting objectives, or even losing ground. The remaining long-standing Member States fall in the “average” range for innovation. France comes in ninth.

"The innovation scoreboard clearly shows that we have to do more for innovation. Boosting innovation is a major pillar in our Partnership for Growth and Jobs. There is clear evidence that more innovative sectors tend to have higher productivity growth rates,” Vice President Günter Verheugen said.

For more information, go to the European Commission press release complete with charts and individual performance summaries for each Member State.