Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union – SEC (2010) 1161 

At a time of public budget constraints, major demographic changes and increasing global competition, Europe’s competitiveness, our capacity to create millions of new jobs to replace those lost in the crisis and, overall, our future standard of living depends on our ability to drive innovation in products, services, business and social processes and models. This is why innovation has been placed at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy. Innovation is also our best means of successfully tackling major societal challenges, such as climate change, energy and resource scarcity, health and ageing, which are becoming more urgent by the day. Europe has no shortage of potential. We have world leading researchers, entrepreneurs and companies and unique strengths in our values, traditions, creativity and diversity. We have made great strides in creating the largest home market in the world. European enterprises and civil society are actively engaged in emerging and developing economies around the world. Many world-changing innovations can be traced back to Europe. But we can – and must do – much better. In a rapidly changing global economy, we must build on our strengths and decisively tackle our weaknesses. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the EU and its Member States is to adopt a much more strategic approach to innovation. With a view to achieve the EU 2020 objective of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Commission intends to launch innovation partnerships in key areas addressing major societal challenges, such as energy security, transport, climate change and resource efficiency, health and ageing, environmentally-friendly production methods and land management. Examples of possible partnerships include areas such as:

• Ensuring higher quality and efficiency of our supply use of water;

• Ensuring a secure supply chain and achieve efficient and sustainable management and use of non-energy raw materials along the entire value chain;

Water-Efficient Europe

The aim of the Partnership is to promote actions that can speed-up innovation in the water sector and remove barriers to innovation. The actions are intended to achieve the EU water policy objectives while reducing the EU water footprint, improving water security and promoting the worldwide leadership of the European water industry.

Sustainable supply of non-energy raw materials for a Modern Society

The aim is to ensure a secure supply and achieve efficient and sustainable management and use of non-energy materials along the entire value chain in Europe. This is all the more necessary to provide an answer to the various societal challenges at stake. Demonstrating ten innovative pilot plants for raw materials extraction, processing and recycling, and finding substitutes for at least three key applications of critical raw materials underpin this Partnership.

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