EU fleshes out ICT innovation agenda

EU vice president Neelie Kroes calls on private sector to step up to the innovation challenge.

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Neelie Kroes, the European Commission vice president, has set out plans to bolster innovation within the European ICT industry.

"These days, it's hard to predict how the world will look in a few months, let alone years: there's so much potential in the path ahead," she said, in an EU speech transcript.

"The EU has long supported research and innovation. It's the best way to invest in future growth."

For seven years, the EU has been working on Horizon 2020, a project to better lives of small businesses and start-ups by 2020.

The EU has already proposed an 80 billion investment in the project, with one fifth of this sum allocated for ICT.

"Already we've set out how we will make Horizon 2020 easier to use: with a simpler architecture, more streamlined funding schemes and the lowest possible administrative burden," she said.

"But we need to go further. We need to give our research and innovation the three C's: more challenging; more coherent; and better at boosting competitiveness."

She also called on the private sector to do its bit to support innovation, describing it as the "real engine of innovation in our economy".

"Let's give small businesses the best advice about how ICT can boost their bottom line," she said.

Kroes said that Europe needs to "keep up" with North America and the Far East who are progressing at a "fearsome pace."

"We need to try out the most promising ideas. And that's exactly what I intend to do," she said.

"If we invest better, we will innovate better, and we will build a better future. The world is changing: the way we innovate needs to change, too. Starting from now."

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