The Commission has put industry at the heart of its priorities.
Last week in Strasbourg, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “I want to make our industry stronger and more competitive. The new industrial policy strategy will help our industries stay or become the world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation.”
On Monday, the executive followed this up with its new industrial policy strategy.
A Commission source said this “brings together all existing and new horizontal and sector-specific initiatives into a comprehensive industrial strategy.
“It also clarifies the tasks ahead for all actors involved and sets out the fora - an annual Industry Day, the first edition of which took place in February 2017, and a high level industrial roundtable - that will allow in particular industry and civil society to steer industrial policy actions in the future,” said the source.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Brussels, Commission Vice-President for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said, “By embracing technological change, converting research investments into innovative business ideas, and continuing to pioneer the low-carbon and circular economy, we will pave the way for a smart, innovative and sustainable industry in Europe.”
This message was endorsed by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Speaking at the same event, she added, “Many European industries are at a turning point. In our day and age, industrial policy is about empowering our industries to continue delivering sustainable growth and jobs for our regions and citizens.”
The strategy announces new initiatives in the areas of circular economy, mobility, intellectual property, public procurement, skills and sustainable finance, in addition to proposals on trade, investment screening, cybersecurity and data.
These were flagged up by Juncker in his State of the Union address on 13 September.
Europe’s industry is recovering from the crisis and, says the Commission, has retained a leading position in many sectors in global markets. Industry accounts for two thirds of the EU's exports and provides jobs for 32 million people, with 1.5 million of these jobs created since 2013.
But, the Commission says, “to maintain and reinforce its competitive advantage, an important modernisation effort is required.”
A spokesperson said, “Putting this holistic strategy into practice is a shared responsibility. Its success depends on the efforts and cooperation of the EU institutions, member states, regions and most importantly on the active role of industry itself.”