Overall the EU edges forward in terms of innovation performance, Source: Unsplash

Innovation still a northern priority as per new European Commission ranking

Innovation still a northern priority as per new European Commission ranking

Denmark once again leads the way, but the good news is that more member states are improving their performance in that field

On Monday, the European Commission published its annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), a tool that provides the public with an overall glance over this vital performance factor in the modern world as it applies to EU member states. The leader, just like last year, is Denmark whereas the countries doing relatively poorly when it comes to innovation all form the eastern flank of the bloc.

That being said, the Commission was quick to point out that there is a silver lining and a dash of optimism because overall there has been a continuing increase in innovative performance. Since 2017, that surge accounts to 10%.

Different countries, different gears on innovation

However, the surge in innovation spirit is not uniform across the board, which makes it hard to see the EU as a solid innovative region that puts that factor as a priority in order to enhance its competitiveness on the global scale.

The scoreboard showed that 15 member states have improved their innovation performance since last year, one (Croatia) has stalled, and 11 other countries have stepped back in their efforts.

Traditionally, the ranking is divided into four sub-categories: Innovation Leaders, Strong Innovators, Moderate Innovators and Emerging Innovators.

EU Innovation ranking 2024

Source: European Commission

Only two countries have changed their category since last year. Estonia became a Strong Innovator following a steady growth pattern since 2017. Belgium, which was an Innovation leader in 2023, moved down to the Strong Innovators category.

What’s notable as a steady pattern is that the innovation landscape in Europe is dominated by Nordic countries. Emerging Innovators which lag behind are once again countries from the easternmost flank of the Union: Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania.

For more detailed information, you can check out this handy interactive tool, which lets you compare not only countries but also different regions in terms of their competitive edge.

The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is an annual publication by the European Commission that provides a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of EU Member States, neighbouring European countries and for the first time this year - some selected global competitors. The EIS is based on 32 indicators covering the economy, business and entrepreneurship, innovation profiles, governance and policy framework, climate change and demography.

The EIS aims to support policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders in understanding the innovation landscape, finding strengths and weaknesses, and formulating evidence-based policies to enhance innovation across Europe.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU