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Competitiveness ministers to discuss research, digitalisation and the circular economy

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
19.7.2021 11.20
News item

Two informal meetings of competitiveness ministers will discuss the development of the European Research Area (ERA) and the importance to EU competitiveness of the circular economy, creativity and digitalisation. The meetings will be held in Slovenia.

Discussion at the meeting of competitiveness ministers responsible for research and innovation will be based on a communication published by the European Commission last autumn that noted an undesirable trend in research and innovation investment by EU countries. The aim is to increase the share of research and innovation investment as a percentage of total European Union GDP from the current 2.19 per cent to 3 per cent.

Finland supports Commission proposals to strengthen the ERA, and concerning the 3 per cent research and innovation expenditure target. Finland also considers it important to create an open internal market for research and innovation in Europe, with improved mobility of information, expertise and researchers. These objectives should be supported at both EU and national level.

Finland will be represented at the research and innovation meeting to be held on 19 July by Raimo Luoma, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

Circular economy and digitalisation crucial to the industry of the future

The importance to EU competitiveness of the circular economy, creativity and digitalisation will also be discussed at a meeting of competitiveness ministers responsible for the internal market and industrial policy.

Finland supports the reform of manufacturing towards a climate-neutral model that is competitive and based on a circular economy. A circular economy creates business opportunities and opens up markets for high-quality recycled materials, clean technology and innovation. Finland similarly stresses the importance of digitalisation in reforming manufacturing, and the need to improve the digital skills of the workforce.

The upcoming meeting will address the potential of digitalisation, the circular economy and creativity through two example sectors: textiles and energy-intensive manufacturing. Finland applauds the choice of textiles as a key value chain targeted by circular economy measures. Innovations related in particular to manufacturing environmentally friendly bio-based and recycled fibre offer new types of business opportunity.

Finland notes that measures are needed to decarbonise energy-intensive sectors. The sectoral low-carbon roadmaps drawn up in Finland are examples of measures that an energy-intensive industry can take to pursue ambitious climate goals while ensuring international competitiveness. One important measure is to ensure the availability of com-petitively priced low-emission electric power.

Finland will be represented by State Secretary Ville Kopra at the meeting to be held on 22 July.

Taru Löyttymäki, Senior Specialist, taru.loyttymaki(at)tem.fi, tel. +358 29 504 7177

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