Dossier: «Realities and challenges of the European Union»ISSUE 3 (MAY 2015)

R&D policies and productivity convergence in the European Union


The sustainability of the European Union depends upon reducing its structural divergences. Under this premise, and taking into account that R&D policies are key to transforming productivity in EU countries that are technologically less advanced, the European Commission obtained from each of its member states commitments regarding the efforts towards R&D (expenditure as a percentage of GDP) that they would be making by the year 2020. In this study we demonstrate the unlikelihood of these commitments being fulfilled, especially in those countries with a greater need for productive transformation, of which Spain is one example. This predicted failure is heavily influenced by the austerity measures imposed on the aforementioned countries by the very same European Commission, which resulted in major cuts in their R&D expenditure. In this context, the EU is moving towards greater degrees of divergence, generating serious doubts about its continued feasibility.

productivity convergence;  Research and Development (I+D);  economic crisis;  austerity policies;  decent work and economic growth;  industry, innovation and infrastructure; 



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