Greece’s innovation performance surged by over 25 percent in 2020 — more than double the EU average — according to a European Commission report released on Monday.
The European Innovation Scoreboard 2021 shows that Greece is now classified as a “moderate innovator.” Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups: Innovation leaders, Strong innovators, Moderate innovators and Emerging innovators.
Greece is among five EU nations that witnessed an improvement in performance of 25 percentage points or more. The others were Cyprus, Estonia, Italy and Lithuania.
According to the report, the top three positive indicators for Greece include the sales of innovative products, innovative small and mid-size enterprises (SME’s) collaborating with others, and product innovators.
The strong increase in innovation performance since 2018 is due to improved performance for broadband penetration, venture capital, product innovators, job-to-job mobility of human resources in science and technology, and medium and hightech goods exports.
Greece has an above-average proportion of in-house product innovators and is showing close to average scores on the climate change-related indicators, the EU report says.
Greece a regional hub for innovation
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said recently that Greece can progress economically and technologically and become a regional hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Pyatt said that the challenge going forward is to unleash the power of the Greek people.
“The digital transformation has a lot to do with unleashing the fantastic potential that you see in the Greek diaspora, that you can see among young people, in the start-up community.”
Greece improves on innovation more than the rest of Europe
The European innovation scoreboard assesses relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address.
The 2021 edition shows that Europe’s innovation performance continues to improve across the EU. On average, innovation performance has increased by 12.5 percent since 2014. There is continued convergence within the EU, with lower-performing countries growing faster than higher-performing ones, therefore closing the innovation gap among them.
Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “European innovations like the technologies at the heart of new COVID-19 vaccines have been crucial to fighting and overcoming the current pandemic. The EU’s improved innovation performance is a very positive signal. Investing in innovation is investing in our ability to be at the technological forefront for a sustainable, digital and resilient economy and society.”
Sweden continues to be the EU Innovation Leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium, all with innovation performance well above the EU average.
The most innovative region in Europe is Stockholm in Sweden, followed by Etelä-Suomi in Finland, and Oberbayern in Germany. Hovedstaden in Denmark is in fourth place, and Zürich in Switzerland is in fifth place.
In the global landscape, South Korea is the most innovative country, performing 36 percent above the score of the EU in 2014 and 21 percent above the EU in 2021. The EU is ahead of China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and India in this year’s EIS, while Canada, Australia, the United States, and Japan have a performance lead over the EU.
This year’s European innovation scoreboard is based on a revised framework, which includes new indicators on digitalization and environmental sustainability, bringing the scoreboard more in line with the EU political priorities.