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CEE cross-border cooperation key to competitiveness and innovation management

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The CEE9 international locations – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – and particularly the international locations alongside the Danube Valley have the potential to propel itself to the entrance of European innovation management within the forthcoming years.

The GLOBSEC Tatra Summit Insight Report 2021, is an actual wake-up name for the CEE9 international locations. Most of the group is just not performing properly on GLOBSEC’s Strategic Transformation Index (STI). The rating is as comply with: Slovenia (57.0), Czech Republic (56.0), Poland (51.9), Hungary (51.2), Slovakia (47.8), Croatia (41.1), Romania (40.3) and Bulgaria coming final (35.6). Yet, it have to be highlighted that “Austria defends its top performer standing, with an overall score of 63.9 points. The index value 63.9 is interpreted as being almost at a 2/3rd point between the worst and the best performer in the sample between 2010 and 2018 […]”.  Although there’s a slight progress yr on yr, it’s not vital. With an up to date model of the index popping out quickly, comes a chance to provoke change.

Europe goals at being a trend-setter and chief within the area of innovation. However, it lags behind its US (487) and Chinese (301) counterparts, with lower than 100 unicorns (a start-up that’s valued at one billion {dollars} or extra) as proven by the newest information from Statista. The Director-General of the EU’s Research and Innovation Directorate, Jean-Eric Paquet, instructed Sifted in an interview, “The EIC should become Europe’s unicorn factory, we are creating possibly the biggest deep-tech equity fund in Europe.” The European Commission adopted the work programme of the European Innovation Council, on February 9, 2022, opening funding alternatives value over €1.7 billion in 2022. The European Innovation Council was launched in March 2021 as a part of the Horizon Europe programme and has an earmarked price range of over €10 billion for the 2021 and 2027 interval.

As European international locations emerge from restrictions and financial slowdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a chance for the CEE9 presents itself. Measures for a beneficial progress setting for innovation and start-ups to thrive have to be launched on a regional stage. Innovation is essential to permitting the area to develop, meet up with its neighbouring international locations to the West and assist Europe to develop into a critical competitor on the worldwide scene.

If we check out Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, “43% of the plan supports climate objectives and 21% of the plan supports the digital transition”. Similar shares are observable in different CEE international locations’ Recovery Plans, which is an EU-level requirement. With funding and coverage measures out there, working in direction of an progressive ecosystem will contribute to laying down the foundations for a brand new, extra sustainable, and smarter future financial progress mannequin. Thus, serving to Europe to come back ahead as a frontrunner in innovation.

Besides, the second is extra essential than ever: With the raging warfare in Ukraine the ensuing highlight is shining on the area. A direct consequence of the Russian re-aggression of Ukraine is the mind drain, not solely from Ukraine but in addition from Russia and Belarus. According to the New York Times, “By March 22 (2022) a Russian tech industry trade group estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 tech workers had left the country and that an additional 70,000 to 100,000 would soon follow. They are part of a much larger exodus of workers from Russia, but their departure could have an even more lasting impact on the country’s economy.”

There is a necessity to watch this displacement of staff and assert its potential results on EU and non-EU international locations. This is a possible for CEE, Slavic and neighbouring international locations, firms, schooling services and think-tanks to welcome with open-arms extremely educated workforce and relocating firms with excessive innovation potential, including to the native pool.

The stream of refugees additionally consists of political opponents, not to mention refugees total, who shouldn’t be omitted. According to a March 2022 article from The Economist, “Russian émigrés are behind some of the world’s most successful digital start-ups, such as Revolut, a mobile-banking app based in London co-founded by Nikolay Storonsky”.

In a nutshell, tapping on the progressive potential of the area might be an important contribution to rebuilding post-war Ukraine. Besides, the secure return of dislocated populations to their properties in Ukraine, will likely be an asset for fostering additional intra- and inter-regional progressive cooperation.

Nonetheless, the present cost-of-living disaster, because of surge in power costs and high-inflation ―as direct penalties of the COVID-19 disaster, heightened by the warfare in Ukraine― are clearing innovation off the funding priorities of the member states. Funding is, naturally, a key ingredient of any innovation agenda for the area. With such drags on the way in which, 2022 may not be the kick-starter of innovation.

It is excessive time to foster an innovation-friendly setting within the area, offering the native entrepreneurs with the keys to bringing their initiatives to life, and looking out in direction of the longer term. All of it, within the present context, needs to be achieved in a fraternal spirit with residents of neighbouring international locations to the East both fleeing the destruction of their properties or an oppressive authorities.

Collaboration and cross-border cooperation are means to attach individuals, study from one another, develop stronger regional bonds contributing to an elevated competitiveness and hopefully rebuilding of a stronger Ukraine.  In different phrases, working unitedly on placing the CEE international locations on the map, for a extra impactful motive than a brutal warfare.

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