Brussels, 7th January 2008
Lead market initiative to unlock innovative
The European Commission is proposing to unlock
market potential for innovative goods and services by lifting obstacles
hindering innovation in a first batch of six important markets: eHealth,
protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and
renewable energies. These markets with high economic and societal value
represent an annual turnover of more than € 120 billion and 1.9 million
jobs in the EU. With this initiative they may increase to over € 300
billion and over 3 million jobs in the EU in 2020. The “Lead Markets
Initiative for Europe’ (LMI) proposed by the Commission will foster the
emergence of these markets by notably improving legislation, encouraging public
procurement and developing interoperable standards (see Memo/08/5).
European enterprises would profit from fair and better chances of entering new
fast growing world-wide markets with a competitive advantage as lead producers.
LMI would also rapidly bring visible advantage for Europe’s consumers in
key domains for their welfare.
Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry
policy, said: "Europe must develop innovation friendly markets in a more
targeted way, creating conditions to facilitate the marketing of innovative
products and services. The Lead Market Initiative has identified promising
emerging markets in which the European Union has the potential to become world
leader and where coordinated action is urgently needed“.
The LMI initiative calls for the urgent coordination of policies through
ambitious action plans targeting these markets. The six first ones are
(see also Memo/08/5):
- eHealth: ICT solutions for patients, medical services and payment
institutions can help to deliver better care for less money. Standardisation,
for instance of various information exchange formats, certifications of systems
and large-scale demonstration projects could help to cope better with the
arising problems from an "ageing" Europe.
- Sustainable construction: Buildings account for the largest share of
the total EU final energy consumption (42%) and produce about 35% of all
greenhouse emissions, so developing sustainable solutions is crucial.
Orientation towards innovative solutions and cutting administrative burdens are
some of the proposed measures.
- Technical textiles for intelligent personal protective clothing and
equipment (PPE): The current size of the PPE market in the EU is estimated at 10
billion euros, and has the potential to grow by about 50% over the next years.
Spill-over effects from faster growing innovations in PPE to other market
segments of the textile sector would considerably increase the economic impact
of the lead market and the competitiveness of the entire textile sector.
- Innovative use of bio-based products: Europe is currently well placed
in this market, building on established knowledge and a leading technological
and industrial position. Perceived uncertainty about product properties and weak
market transparency however hinder the fast take-up of products. Communication,
standardisation, labelling and certification could be used to overcome
- Recycling: The recycling sector has a turnover of € 24 billion
and employs about half a million persons. There is significant market potential
in recycling, but barriers to market development need to be addressed. There is
potential to significantly improve efficiency and capacity by encouraging
innovation, and introducing more effective processes and improved
- Renewable energy: The development of renewable resources is held back
by high costs, low demand, market fragmentation and administrative and market
barriers. A flexible market based European framework should ensure that 20% of
energy demand will be met by renewables. Accelerating innovation in low carbon
technologies and removal of planning and certification barriers are crucial for
The initiative is decisively focused on a competitive,
demand-driven approach and avoids ‘picking winners’, i.e.
these emerging markets can build on new and existing technologies which are
available in Europe. Moreover, the concept chosen for LMI avoids favouring
specific companies, which would be inconsistent with fair and open
The approach is demand driven. In all these areas there is a strong
market potential within a rather short time span, which could improve economic
benefits notably for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are
the dominant drivers of innovation.
The LMI is part of the EU’s broad-based
innovation strategy that highlights the need for a more coherent use of all
available policy tools and instruments to support innovation in Europe.
Adherence of Member States as well as active participation of businesses and
other private stakeholders will be of key importance for the success of the