Almost all European member states spend very little money on research and development, which at the same time is much needed to guarantee future economic growth. “In 2022 we spent less than the previous year, and 2.3 percent was actually too low,” says economist Edin Mujakic.
Invest heavily in research and development
European countries must spend at least 3 percent of their GDP on research and development. This is one of the agreements made in the Lisbon Treaty in 2000 and will help reduce the lead of the US and some Asian countries. But new figures from Eurostat show we’re nowhere near that 3 percent.
How is the Netherlands?
Four EU countries – Belgium, France, Sweden and Austria – meet the 3 percent target. The Netherlands is far behind. By comparison, South Korea spends about 5 percent of GDP annually on research and development, Taiwan spends 4 percent, and the United States spends about 3.5 percent.
How worrisome is this?
This is a serious matter for the future, as future economic growth primarily depends on increasing productivity. This becomes important when you come up with new technologies and solutions, and these are the result of investing a lot of money in continuous research and development, rather than just appearing out of the box.
Can we expect progress? Does politics have this problem?
I didn’t hear anyone say anything about it during the election campaigns, even though it’s a very important thing to talk about, looking at the future of the Dutch economy. We in the Netherlands have not met the three percent threshold for 23 years to close the gap with the US and Asian countries, and in fact need to pass them. You should do everything you can to spend more money on this.
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