But the Czech Republic, of a similar size to Greece and

But the Czech Republic, of a similar size to Greece and

Euro zone strugglers lack innovative knack

LONDON (Reuters) To get an idea of the economic mountain euro zone strugglers Greece and Portugal have to climb, consider this: per million inhabitants, they each filed fewer than eight applications with the European Patent Office moncler outlet prices in 2010.

A man smokes outside a pizza shop with a sign of a euro coin used to advertise its prices in central Madrid December moncler outlet online 9, 2011. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Germany, with the advantages moncler outlet sale of scale that go with a population eight times bigger, lodged 335 patent applications per million residents. But the Czech Republic, of a similar size to Greece and Portugal, managed 16. Much smaller Ireland boasted uk moncler outlet 112, according to calculations based on data on the EPO website.

Figures on cheap moncler sale research and development are a little better.

Greece spends just 0.6 percent of GDP on R the same as moncler outlet woodbury in 1999. moncler outlet store Portugal R moncler usa rose to 1.66 percent of GDP in 2009 from 0.69 percent a decade earlier but still lags the OECD average, which rose moncler sale online over the same period to 2.33 percent from 2.16.

Innovation matters because it is a key driver uk moncler sale of competitiveness, cheap moncler coats mens allowing firms to win greater market share and feeding through into greater productivity.

Patent filings and R expenditure are only a rough proxy for a country innovative capacity, but Peter Droell, head of policy development and industrial innovation at the European Commission, said there was a strikingly strong correlation between R spending in the European Union in the period 2004 2009 and economic growth in 2011.

states which invested in moncler uk outlet research and innovation have been stronger in the crisis and are exiting faster, Droell said in London last week at moncler online store the launch of the conclusions of an EU project on financing innovation and growth.

As such, the moncler outlet figures illustrate the longer term growth challenges confronting Greece and Portugal: whether they succeed in boosting productivity, now just 65 percent and 77 percent respectively of the European Union average, according to Rabobank, will largely determine whether they close the competitiveness gap with Germany and other stronger euro zone members.

That discount moncler jackets is the root cause of markets scepticism about the ability of peripheral euro zone countries to grow quickly enough to sustain their huge debt loads.

DIFFICULTY KEEPING UP Greece and Portugal are not the only innovation laggards. Worryingly, Italy and Spain both spend less than Portugal on R and trail Ireland badly on patent filings, at linked site https://www.cheapmoncler.com cheap moncler 67 and 31 per million inhabitants respectively.

True, some experts argue that the effective deployment of technology, in conjunction with policies that promote competition, are far more important for productivity and innovation than R spending itself.

Why, they ask, hasn Europe spawned a company like Google or Facebook or Amazon?

Professor Nicholas Crafts, director of the Research Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy at the University of Warwick in England, notes that for the typical European country 90 percent of the R that contributes to productivity growth is conducted abroad.

Andrew Wyckoff, director of science, technology and industry at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, an inter governmental think tank in Paris, agrees that innovation depends on much moncler sale more than R

It also requires things such as software, human capital, intellectual property and organisational know how at company level.

Unfortunately, countries on the periphery of the euro zone are also not doing a great job measured according to these assets. As Wyckoff put it: have difficulty sustaining their efforts in this area.

In a detailed study of the innovation potential in the three euro zone countries that have had to accept an international bailout, Deutsche Bank researchers Antje Stobbe and Peter Pawlicki ranked their prospects in the same order as the bond market does: Ireland scores best, followed by Portugal. Greece brings up the rear.

HEADWINDS Ireland spends below the EU average on R but is well positioned because of its high tech strengths in information technology, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, buttressed by strong links between companies and academic institutions, Deutsche says.

Innovation in Portugal is stifled by low skills. It is near the top of the league in the number of doctoral graduates, but poor tertiary and secondary education acts as a barrier to the production of high value goods and services. Employment in knowledge intensive sectors is far below the EU average.

David Haugh, head of cheap moncler jackets mens the OECD Portugal desk, agreed that education shortcomings, though being addressed, were one reason why Portugal had been unable to adapt quickly when traditional industries such as textiles ran into stiff competition from eastern Europe, China and north Africa.

Poorly trained workers find it harder to switch industries and jobs and redirecting best moncler jackets the education system could take decades to bear fruit. No wonder that Portugal moncler womens jackets has logged annual growth of less than 1 percent in the past decade.

is moving in the right moncler sale outlet direction, but it got a lot cheap moncler jackets womens of things it needs to do on the structural reform side, Haugh said. of them will pay off in the short run; cheap moncler jackets in the long run, we see reforms in education as perhaps having the largest payoff.

Unlike Portugal, the environment for innovation in Greece has improved only slightly in recent years, Deutsche said. There are too few innovation and research projects worthy of being funded, and the education system is not imparting the right skills and qualifications.

is little potential to leverage the development of fast growing industries with high productivity levels, Stobbe and Pawlicki said.

What is to be done?

Waugh stressed the importance of a supportive business environment and said exposing companies to greater competition would spur them to innovate to stay in business.

His OECD colleague Wyckoff said Europe needed to attain scale by removing the barriers to cross border collaboration in science and innovation.

Deutsche researchers highlighted the urgency for companies in traditional industries in Greece and Portugal such as tourism and textiles to embrace a culture of innovation.

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