Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2012

Europe's Innovation Union—Beyond Techno-Nationalism?

Dieter Ernst

August 2012

East-West Center


This paper traces recent transformations in Europe's innovation policy--the move towards EU-wide policy coordination in the form of an "Innovation Union." A deep fiscal crisis and increasingly severe austerity policies are slowing down Europe's move towards greater openness and internationalization of its innovation system. The paper asks whether Europe has left behind for good "techno-nationalism," or whether government action in support of high-tech industries through various forms of protectionist policies is re-emerging, this time however on a region-wide scale. This question is of relevance to current policy debates about the role of innovation in the US as well as in Asia's emerging economies. The paper specifically explores what lessons the US and emerging Asia might draw from Europe's move towards an EU-wide Innovation Strategy.