Brussels, 10 October 2012
Although EU leads in energy efficiency and foreign investment, Industrial performance across Member States is not balanced
Today the European Commission released a substantial set of proposals to boost industry. It consists of the following three documents: an Industry Communication calling for short term focussed investment in key industry sectors with high growth prospects; the 2012 Scoreboard on the Member States industrial competitiveness performance; and also the 2012 European Competitiveness Report, which identifies opportunities to make European industries more competitive.
According to the scoreboard, several Member States have made good progress in strengthening industry's sustainability, improving support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and reforming public administration. The scoreboard highlights a continued shift towards a more knowledge-based economy, with increased labour productivity and highly-skilled labour. Most of the countries have engaged in reforms to improve business prospects and strengthen their competitiveness.
However, convergence between more and less innovative countries seems to have slowed down in recent years. The innovation gap between Member States risks widening due to the different ways they have responded to the economic crisis. Significant challenges remain in promoting private research and enhancing competition in network industries (energy, telecommunication, and transport). Access to finance has worsened in the majority of Member States, particularly for SMEs.
The annual European Competitiveness Report is designed to contribute to the analysis underpinning the EU's promotion of competitiveness. Among its key finding, the drop in domestic demand which cannot be fully offset by demand from third counties, the EU leadership in Energy efficiency and in capacity to attract foreign direct investment.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Today's 2012 Competitiveness Reports highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Europe's industry. I urge Member State to continue the process of reforms in order to further improve their industrial competitiveness and redress imbalances across different regions."
MEMO/12/760 Overview of competitiveness in 27 Member States
MEMO/12/761 European Competitiveness Report 2012