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EU Competitiveness and Innovation Programme

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The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) seeks to help European enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones (SMEs), to become more competitive and innovative. It does so by improving access to finance and support services at regional level, and by encouraging better use of information and communi­cations technologies (ICT). In addition, CIP fosters energy efficiency and renewable energy. With an overall budget of €3.6 billion from 2007 to 2013, the programme aims to act as a catalyst for further investment.

CIP has received generally positive evaluations, but stakeholders recommend that funds be streamlined and access simplified. In response, the Commission has proposed to repackage support for innovation and “intelligent energy” within Horizon 2020 (the next research framework programme), and to establish a new programme for SME competitiveness (COSME) from 2014 to 2020. The European Parliament has signalled that it favours increased funding in advance of starting negotiations with the Council on these proposals.

Analysts tend to view competitiveness and innovation as more complex than is commonly acknowledged, but many agree on the need for appropriately targeted support.

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