Opinion of the EESC on the ‘Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative - Innovation Union’
Rapporteur: Gerd WOLF
Co-rapporteur: Erik SVENSSON
On 6 October 2010, the European Commission decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under Article 304 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: "Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative - Innovation Union" - COM (2010) 546 final.
The Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, which was responsible for preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 4 March 2011.
At its 470th plenary session, held on 15/16 March (meeting of 15 March), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 184 votes to one with two abstentions.
1.7 The Committee emphasises the important role of SMEs and micro-enterprises in the innovation process and recommends tailoring support and measures to their specific demands in particular. It furthermore recommends considering whether and how start-ups could be exempted for an appropriate period from most of the otherwise normal procedures and regulations and whether further special incentives might be introduced. The same applies to social economy enterprises.
3. General comments
3.2 Innovation and its ambit. Innovation, in its full scope, refers to all social, economic, educational, scientific, technical, workplace and organisational levels, cultural aspects and activities. The enlarged concept of innovation includes product, service, technical, social and functional activities in all sectors and in all kinds of organisations, including companies, voluntary organisations, foundations and public sector organisations. Innovations are not necessarily the consequence of a linear process, but derive from the networking and interplay of various initial positions; in other words, they develop and prosper in a sound economic and social ecosystem out of a combination of different approaches and competencies.