The need for a US – European Union Innovation Dialogue

The leaders of the European Union and the U.S. agreed in April 2007 to establish a Transatlantic Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Integration (the Framework) between the U.S. and the European Union. At the same time they established the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) to oversee these efforts and to accelerate progress and guiding work between the annual U.S. – EU summits.

The fourth meeting of the TEC will take place tomorrow, October 27th in Washington D.C. against the backdrop of a year which has seen tremendous change for both the United States and Europe. The U.S. experienced a change in political party, with a new President with an ambitious domestic agenda. Likewise, The European Union saw the election of a new European Parliament, the Irish approval of the Lisbon Treaty, and soon a new team of Commissioners under its re-elected President Barroso.

This parallel change occurring on both sides of the Atlantic presents tremendous opportunities as well as challenges for Transatlantic cooperation. And with the increasing importance of the BRIC countries, the need for such cooperation becomes even more urgent. Innovation is one area that is crucial for both the U.S. and Europe and our combined dealings with emerging economies. The Obama administration has repeatedly emphasized the importance of science, technology and innovation for the U.S. economy. It also looks likely that the new European Commission will have a specific European Commissioner dedicated to Innovation.

Given the fact that we are at an important inflection point, Intel has been very supportive of a renewed Transatlantic Innovation agenda. This would mean a restructuring of the different innovation topics under the TEC’s Framework. Such an Innovation agenda, based on a clear ownership structure, should focus on horizontal and vertical – technology specific – innovation issues, giving renewed impetus to the Transatlantic Innovation partnership.

To provide a forum for such a discussion, Intel also advocated for the creation of a Transatlantic Innovation Dialogue (TID). This would be based on the understanding that innovation is increasingly global and the challenges to promote and protect it need to be addressed holistically and globally. It looks likely that such an Innovation Dialogue will be discussed during the next TEC meeting. If approved, a cooperative effort between government and private sector stakeholders should address questions on the Dialogue’s concrete goals and governance structure.

On the goals, we think such a dialogue could focus on the exchange of experiences and best practices on science, technology, and innovation. The discussion could;

(i) identify potential synergies between different private-government innovation initiatives;

(ii) examine how government policies can most effectively support (or impair) the private sector in creating innovation; and

(iii) evaluate how other factors — such as availability of venture capital, university curricula, and open markets — contribute to an innovative climate.

Concerning the governance structure, it is of fundamental importance to the success of such a Dialogue for it to be founded on Public and Private sector cooperation. Intel therefore endorses both parties to engage in an open dialogue with all stakeholders to advance our common goals.

Intel is convinced that this dialogue could make great strides in promoting continued U.S. and EU joint leadership in science and technology and we look forward in participating in this debate and advancing our shared objectives.