Knowledge for Innovation, an MEP-led association, organized its 6th Innovation Summit this week, in partnership with several organisations including EurActiv, which covered several sessions, and moderated the conclusions (separate post).
The timing was good: just after the start of the Juncker Commission and before Mr Tusk arrives: which I addressed in an Opinion piece. Having heard speeches and corridor talks, I am convinced that innovation is the right ‘umbrella topic’ (or story telling, as spin doctors may put it).
Parties and Parliament support innovation, on substance and on processes
As expected, EU elections led to a coalition Commission, with a more specific ‘government programme’ than ever. The stronger minority of Eurosceptics and extremes will of course remain on the side lines. But even the mainstream opposition, namely the Greens, have respect for the new team: their group leader’s appreciates Vice President Timmermans, and his stance on transparency.
As for the overarching EU motto, yes, it is possible to combine under one heading the necessary concepts. The four main European parties and groups are EPP, PES, ALDE, Greens. In different ways, they all call for competitiveness, sustainable solidarity, freedoms, green growth. It is possible to bring this under one umbrella: ‘innovation’.
I was notably encouraged by the strong presence of socialist MEPs, including both senior and young ones (several ‘under 40’: the rising stars?). They understand that status quo is not an option, and would in effect be a form of conservatism. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not right-wing notion, they are also key for social Europe and green growth.
Just like slow justice is a denial of justice, slow policy-making is a denial of election mandates. Similarly, data swamp and lack of overview is a denial of transparency. This calls for combining transparency with efficiency. This could be made of two elements: wider involvement and coverage beyond current media, and faster EU machinery.
On the first point, controversial debates like #Luxleaks, #TTIP, and then #COP21 call for more transparency and engagement. For example, EurActiv supports this, took initiatives well before the transparency register; and will innovate in 2015 with EurActory and #Media4EU. Combining transparency with efficiency is a challenge,: public scrutiny should work in parallel to policy initiatives, from the outset, and not be managed top down and block later processes. Otherwise, TTIP would turn like ACTA, and the EU would become as reform-averse as France…
The second point, speed, is addressed in my Opinion published by EurActiv.