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IP/10/1434

Brussels, 28 October 2010

Industry for Europe - Europe for industry

Industry must be placed centre stage if Europe is to remain a global economic leader. This is the core message of the Communication on "An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era" adopted by the European Commission today on the initiative of Vice-President Antonio Tajani. The Communication, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy, sets out a strategy that aims to boost growth and jobs by maintaining and supporting a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe offering well-paid jobs while becoming less carbon intensive. It is accompanied by a report on the competiveness performance of individual Member States (see MEMO/10/533) and the annual European Competitiveness Report.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “Industry is at the heart of Europe and indispensable for finding solutions to the challenges of our society, today and in the future. Europe needs industry and industry needs Europe. We must tap into the full potential of the Single Market, its 500 million consumers and its 20 million entrepreneurs.

In this era of intensifying globalisation, the concept of national sectors and industries is obsolete. Coordinated European policy responses are needed. Europe also needs an approach that looks at the whole value chain, from infrastructure and raw materials to after-sales service. Promoting the creation and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises has to be at the core of EU industrial policy. Moreover, the transition to a sustainable economy has to be seized as an opportunity to strengthen competitiveness. Only a European Industrial Policy targeting competitiveness and sustainability can muster the critical mass of change and coordination needed for success. Antonio Tajani added: "There will be no sustainability without competitiveness, and there will be no long-lasting competitiveness without sustainability. And there will be none of them without a quantum leap in innovation!"

Ten key actions for European industrial competitiveness:

  • An explicit and thorough "competitiveness proofing" of new legislation will be undertaken. The impact on competitiveness of all policy proposals will be properly analysed and taken into account.

  • "Fitness checks" of existing legislation will identify the potential for reducing the cumulative effects of legislation so as to cut the costs for businesses in Europe.

  • The creation and growth of SMEs will be supported by making it easier for them to access credit and help their internationalisation.

  • A strategy to strengthen European standardisation will be presented to meet the needs of industry.

  • European transport, energy and communication infrastructure and services will be upgraded to serve industry more efficiently, taking better into account today’s changing competitive environment.

  • A new strategy on raw materials will be presented to create the right framework conditions for sustainable supply and management of domestic primary raw materials.

  • Sector-specific innovation performance will be addressed through actions in sectors such as advanced manufacturing technologies, construction, bio-fuels and road and rail transport, particularly in view of improving resource efficiency.

  • The challenges of energy-intensive industries will be addressed through actions to improve framework conditions and support innovation.

  • A space policy will be pursued, developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and Member States. The Commission will develop a space industrial policy to create a solid industrial base covering the whole supply chain.

  • The Commission will report on Europe’s and Member State's competitiveness, industrial policies and performances on an annual basis (see MEMO/10/533).

Living up to the ambitions of a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe requires mutually reinforcing policies. This concerns notably the various flagship initiatives developed under the Europe 2020 strategy and strategies such as the one on the EU's Single Market, adopted on 27 October (see IP/10/1390).

Antonio Tajani concludes: "Europe is more than the sum of its parts. We must raise our joint ambitions in the area of industrial policy, step up our actions and strengthen European governance. This is not business as usual."

Background

Europe’s industry is steadily recovering from recent years’ financial and economic crisis and there are reasons to be confident about the ability of industry to overcome challenges linked to a changing global business environment. Nevertheless, industrial production levels still remain more than 10% below their pre-crisis level, despite the recent dynamic recovery by almost 10%. Manufacturing employs a quarter of people in the private sector, and another quarter work in industry-related services. 80% of all research and development activity in the private sector takes place in the manufacturing industry.

More information:

MEMO/10/532 :: "An industrial policy for the globalisation era" – Elements of the Commission’s strategy

MEMO/10/533 : Overview of Competitiveness in 27 Member States

Competitiveness Report 2010

The Communication "An industrial policy for the globalisation era" is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/industrial-competitiveness/industrial-policy/index_en.htm


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