German firms lead the EU in innovation, data show


Among the 27 EU member states, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium have the highest proportions of enterprises with innovation activity, according to a Eurostat survey.

The survey by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, focuses on product and process innovation, as well as organisational and marketing innovation.

Only enterprises with at least 10 employees were covered and the sectors included in the survey were – among others – manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation, financial and insurance activities, wholesale trade and publishing. 

Fifty-three percent of enterprises from industry and services in the EU reported innovation activity between 2008 and 2010.

In the ranking, Germany takes the lead with 79% innovative enterprises, followed by Luxembourg (68%) and Belgium (61%). Next comes,  Portugal, Sweden and Ireland with 60% of the companies considered "innovative".

The lowest proportion of innovation is found in Bulgaria (27%), Poland (28%), Latvia (30%), Romania (31%) and Hungary (also 31%).

Little cooperation on innovation

Among EU enterprises with product and process innovation activities, only 27% cooperated with other enterprises, universities or public research institutes between 2008 and 2010, while the remaining 73% innovated using only internal resources.

The highest proportions of innovation cooperation were found in Cyprus where 62% cooperated on products and processes, followed by Austria (51%), Slovenia (45%).

The lowest proportion of co-operation among enterprises was in Italy (12%), Malta (18%) and Portugal (20%).

Only a little more than 10% of enterprises in the EU have carried out innovation cooperated with a partner in another member state, a country within EFTA or an acceding or candidate country.

Three percent have co-operated with a partner in the United States and 2% with a partner in India or China.

Innovation cooperation with a European partner was highest in Cyprus (38%) and in Slovenia (35%). In Austria, Estonia and Slovakia 30% have cooperation on innovation with another European partner.

Italian enterprises have the lowest innovative cooperation with European partners (4%), only a little less than Spain (5%), Germany (8%) and Portugal (9%).

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