PRIME Series on Research and Innovation Policy in Europe
Edited by Massimo G. Colombo, Luca Grilli, Lucia Piscitello and Cristina Rossi-Lamastra
Fabio Bertoni and Annalisa Croce INTRODUCTION Developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation has been for Europe an objective since, at least, the development of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000. Nicole Fontaine, the President of the European Parliament when the Lisbon Treaty was signed, emphasized the active role played in this process by macroeconomic policies which ‘. . . should foster the transition towards a knowledge-based economy, which implies an enhanced role for structural policies’.1 In 2005 the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy highlighted that results of this policy effort were still quite disappointing and its targets had to be revised downwards along the lines of a more ‘realistic optimism’ (European Commission 2005a). The importance of knowledge and innovation was confirmed and the blame for the unsatisfactory performance was given, partly, to the changed economic environment (Lisbon targets were set in the midst of the dot.com bubble), and, partly, to governance problems and conflicting objectives (High Level Group 2004). Accordingly, policy recommendations were simplified (e.g. European Council 2005), emphasis was placed on urgent actions rather than long-term goals, and objectives were made more concrete (e.g. European Commission 2005b). Despite knowledge and innovation ranking highly on the agenda of European policy makers for at least a decade, Europe seems not to have succeeded yet in achieving its goals in this field. The most tangible target, and hence the easiest to measure, which was set within the Lisbon strategy (and the only one which survived the simplification and refocus of the mid-term review)...
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