21 January 2008
Barcelona (Spain) - On Monday 21 January 2008, BEDA President Michael Thomson (UK) and Vice-President, Jan R Stavik (Norway) met with Vice-President of the Commission, Gunter Verheugen at the European Commission in Brussels.
Barcelona (Spain) - On Monday 21 January 2008, BEDA President Michael Thomson (UK) and Vice-President, Jan R Stavik (Norway) met with Vice-President of the Commission, Gunter Verheugen at his office in the European Commission in Brussels.

At the meeting, Gunter Verheugen stressed the European Commission's full agreement with the positioning of design as a "very crucial element" for European competitiveness. "Europe must maintain its position as the most competitive region in the world as far as design is concerned," said Vice-President Verheugen.

Three key actions were agreed.

1/ The European Commission will issue a Communication on design (1) to be published during the European Year of Creativity and Innovation(2)in 2009. This policy document will include guidance to EU Member States on national design promotion strategies in addition to other measures to support the growth of Europe's design industries and to stimulate the wider adoption of design by Europe's 23 million Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

2/ The Commission will reinforce its efforts to build up a knowledge base for design activity and design policy in Europe. The European project ADMIRE(3), supported by the Commission under PRO INNO Europe, is currently conducting a mapping study of design and design management in Europe. This information will be complemented by data from existing tools such as the INNO-Policy Trendchart, the Innobarometer and the European Innovation Scoreboard, which will give design a more prominent place from 2008 onwards.

3/ The Commission will ensure the existence of a permanent body for a dialogue on design policy as a key component of Europe's innovation policy, within the context of achieving the goals of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.

BEDA President Michael Thomson said, "The measures outlined by Vice-President Verheugen today will permanently raise design's profile in European innovation policy and will help to grow and strengthen design in Europe."

BEDA Vice-President Jan Stavik said, "We welcome the foresight and initiative of the EU Vice-President Verheugen and BEDA looks forward to working closely with the Directorate General for Enterprise."

For further information please contact:

Diagonal 452 5,
08006 Barcelona
T. +34 934 153 655
F: +34 934 155 419

(1) This Communication would be a non-legislative policy document to the other European institutions, notably the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

(2) The Commission has proposed to make 2009 the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.

(3) The ADMIRE project was launched in January 2007. ADMIRE aims to encourage companies - especially SMEs - to introduce design management procedures in order to improve their competitiveness. To this end, the ADMIRE project intends to stimulate innovation, establish a European knowledge-sharing platform, organise a European Design Management Award and to identify and test new activities to promote design management. Further information at

About BEDA
BEDA was established as an Association of Associations in 1969. It currently has 42 members in 23 Member States comprising representative professional design organisations and national design promotion centres. Its role is to communicate the value of design and innovation to the institutions of the European Union. BEDA is an Affiliate Member of Icograda.