18 December 2007
The European Commission is to allow public money to be spent on R&D to improve innovation.
The Commission has given the go-ahead to allow public sector buyers to take part in "pre-commercial procurement". This will allow buyers to buy the development of innovative products that they need, and let them work more closely with suppliers.
The EC said discussions would now begin with the 27 member states on where this purchasing should be focused. In 2008 the EU will outline key areas where spending should be targeted, such as health, transport, security and the environment.
Viviane Reding, commissioner for information society and media, said in a statement: "Europe's public sector has massive buying power, but until now it has not found a clear way to link mid to long term public purchasing needs with research and development programmes. This could be a lost opportunity for Europe if we do not act quickly."
The agreement will also allow the public and private sector to share information together, because there is no commercial offer. The EC believes supporting this type of procurement will push innovation and develop a strong research market in Europe.