[Highlights] There is a significant divide between the European Union countries with the greatest capacity to innovate, and those with the least capacity to innovate. The difficult convergence process has been proceeding only very slowly and unevenly, and more recently seems to have come to a halt. For footnotes and references, see the PDF version of this paper. A particular weak spot for the EU is corporate investment in research; in this area, the intra-EU divide is growing. As the business sector is responsible for the persistent R&D intensity gap between the EU and the United States and Asia, the persistent failure of lagging EU countries to catch up in this area provides much of the explanation for the EU’s weak performance compared to other economies. The evidence shows that the deployment of public budgets and the mix of policies employed by EU member states have tended to aggravate the intra-EU divide. The EU needs to better understand its growing internal innovation divide if it is to achieve its ambition of becoming a world innovation leader.