The Europe 2020 Strategy sets the strategic framework for the European Research and Innovation Policy. Its key elements are the competitiveness of the European economy, innovation, resource efficiency and poverty reduction, which translate into three priorities - smart, sustainable and inclusive growth - and are implemented through seven flagship initiatives. Most relevant for research and innovation is the "Innovation Union" flagship, that addresses the concept and objectives of the "European Research Area".
Through the European Framework Programmes, research and innovation activities are funded to promote the scientific and technological development of European industry and its competitiveness as well as other EU policy areas. The European Framework Programmes for research and innovation fundamentally contribute to the creation of the European Research Area.
In 1984, the first European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation was established. Since then, budgets continually increase and funding periods have been extended. The current European Research and Innovation Programme, Horizon 2020, is the funding programme with the largest budget world-wide.
Currently, the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, "Horizon Europe" is in preparation and will start in 2021.