Slovakia still lags in innovation

The state should make application of adopted strategies its priority, experts claim.

Companies in Slovakia are gradually becoming more automatised.Companies in Slovakia are gradually becoming more automatised. (Source: Sme)

“In spite of its sound macro-economic results and the growth of the GDP, Slovakia keeps placing last in innovation performance rankings,” Ivan Filus, innovation advisor at the Business & Innovation Centre, told The Slovak Spectator.

Based on the European Commission’s 2018 European Innovation Scoreboard, Slovakia remains a moderate innovator, falling below the EU average ranking in the category of strong innovators. It placed 23rd on the scoreboard for 2018, down two positions from the previous year.

In the Global Innovation Index, Slovakia ended 36th in 2018, a drop from 34th place in 2017. Based on this, Slovakia’s gross expenditure on R&D was 0.8 percent of GDP. By comparison, the United States spent 2.7 percent of GDP in 2016, according to OECD.

Milan Šustek, manager at the tax department at Deloitte in Slovakia, stresses that the position of Slovakia should be perceived in the context of comparison with other countries of the European Union.

“Of course, Slovakia focused on building its industry and the creation of work places during the first years of its existence, even at the price of a lower focus on innovations,” said Šustek. “The support of innovation and activities with higher added value should have been another step.”

Such a development transforms the economy. But this has not happened in Slovakia and other countries have begun to overrun Slovakia. Šustek uses the Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia as examples.

“What’s alarming is that countries on the same starting line are now one step ahead of Slovakia,” said Šustek. “This means that they have already managed to build the industry and now they can focus on innovation activities.”

He added that it would be naïve to compare Slovakia to Sweden, Denmark or Finland, but Slovakia should have more ambitious goals.

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