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An Innovation Agenda for Europe

The European Union has everything it needs to be a global leader in technology and innovation. The EU’s new leadership team should therefore act immediately to create a strong innovation ecosystem, complete the digital single market, and robustly defend free, open, and rules-based competition.

BRUSSELS/MADRID – The European Union’s new leadership team must reform and deepen the bloc and strengthen its global influence. Making Europe much more innovative should therefore be at the top of the priority list.

There is no time to waste. The rapid growth of the digital economy is creating a technological G2 world dominated by the United States and China, with Europe a distant third. Not even one European firm is ranked among the world’s largest Internet companies. Most technology “unicorns” – privately held start-ups valued at over $1 billion – are outside the EU. And tech hubs such as Shenzhen or Silicon Valley currently dwarf anything that Europe has to offer.

If EU leaders allow these trends to continue, Europe will find itself unable to meet the geostrategic challenges of the twenty-first century. An outdated industrial and technological base will be unable to support a resilient and effective data infrastructure, and will thus limit Europe’s strategic autonomy. With technology and innovation having become important arenas for Sino-American great-power rivalry, Europe must raise its collective game to avoid being caught in the middle.