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Mind the gap

The European Commission’s Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, published in March, showed a significant drop in business investment in innovation. Laura Greenhalgh spoke to Friedhelm Schmider, a pesticides industry lobbyist and president of the Knowledge4Innovation group at the European Parliament, about how the deepening divide between politics and industry is affecting spending.

How do you see the economic situation in Europe?

I see it in a terrible way. When I look around and see the levels of youth unemployment in Ireland and in Spain, I worry where we are going if we don’t change the business environment immediately. Of course the financial crisis has caused a lot of this, but it is not the only reason. It is also about how far we have moved away from science-based and fact-based decisions, emphasising the precautionary principle instead. We now have an environment that is anti-technology and risk averse.

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