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The EU aims to promote the competitiveness of EU industry and businesses and enhance job creation and economic growth by creating a business-friendly environment, particularly for small businesses and the manufacturing industry.

Man working on a turbofan engine © Rolls Royce

Cutting-edge technology is vital to business and industry.

Industry is key to recovery

The key to economic recovery in Europe ultimately lies with industrial competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship.

With globalisation and intensifying competition from emerging countries, European’s long-term economic prosperity will depend on the strength of our industrial base rather than on services and banks alone.

The EU’s industry and innovation objectives for 2020:

  • strengthening the industrial base and promoting the transition to a low carbon economy
  • promoting innovation as a means to generate new sources of growth
  • encouraging small businesses and promoting an entrepreneurial culture
  • ensuring an EU-wide market for goods
  • contributing to the European presence in space.

Small businesses and entrepreneurship

Europe’s 23m small businesses (SMEs) account for 99 % of businesses, provide 67 % of jobs and create 85 % of all new jobs. EU policy aims to ease SMEs' access to finance and markets.

Woman next to stack of paperwork © Imageselect

Reducing the paperwork for business is high on the EU’s agenda.

Europe’s entrepreneurial potential is not fully exploited. Even though 38 % of all Europeans said they would like to become their own boss if they could, only 10 % are actually self-employed. The EU is working to increase this percentage as a means to generate jobs and rejuvenate the economic base.

An EU-wide market for goods

The EU aims to remove barriers to trade which still exist and avoid the creation of new ones by promoting a business- and consumer-friendly EU market, based on transparent, simple and consistent rules and standards.



Published in November 2014

This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series




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