EurActiv LogoEU finance ministers are fighting against the European Commission's target of spending 3% of GDP on research and development (R&D), demanding a new "outcome-oriented" measure of success.

The 3% figure is one of five headline goals of the 'Europe 2020' growth strategy and has been firmly backed by EU Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (EurActiv 09/03/10).

Meeting in Brussels yesterday (16 March), finance ministers called for "urgent consideration" of wider indicators to measure R&D and innovation, putting the European Council on a collision course with the EU executive, which has put its political weight behind the target.

Including spending as an indicator has proven controversial and has exposed differences between ministries of finance and research across Europe. With public budgets under pressure, finance ministers are reluctant to commit to additional spending on R&D.