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ECA: Audit preview - What is the EU doing to address the innovation divide?

In the EU, the capacity of private and public actors to undertake state-of-the-art technological research and innovation (R&I) differs between Member States. This divide between innovation leaders and underperforming countries prevents the EU from exploiting its R&I potential to the full and thus poses a major threat to its economic growth, prosperity and social stability.

To tackle the innovation divide, the EU has focused increasingly on ensuring that all Member States participate in its R&I funding programmes. The programme for the 2014-2020 period, Horizon 2020, introduced specific measures to unlock the potential of low-performing, so-called “widening” countries, and promoting synergies with the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) The latest proposals for the post-2020 period place even greater emphasis on both “widening” measures and synergies.

The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit to assess the action taken by the Commission to achieve the Horizon 2020 “widening” objective. We will be looking at the results of the measures in place since 2014 – including the focus on synergies with the ESIFs – and taking into account the likely impact of the changes proposed for 2021 onwards.

If you wish to contact the audit team, you may do so at the following email address: ECA-Innovation-Divide-audit@eca.europa.eu

Read the audit preview of The European Court of Auditors in its entirety here.