[Check Against Delivery]
European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
Press conference / Brussels
22 January 2014
An industrial renaissance for growth and employment
I would like, first of all, to thank President Barroso for his strong commitment to industrial competitiveness, as shown by his presence here today.
In this Communication, the Commission wishes to make a contribution to the March European Council, which will focus on industry and climate, confirming the commitment we have already shown in previous communications to do more to keep our companies competitive.
Today, we wish to urge States and regions to change tack and to play their part in relaunching industry.
The Communication makes it very clear that we must place industry at the top of the agenda and have consistent EU and national policies if we want to reindustrialise Europe.
Community resources must contribute, in the same way as policies on the internal market, energy, infrastructure, sustainability, competition, trade, research, innovation and training, to industrial competitiveness as a key factor for growth and employment.
The prime importance of measures to promote industry is therefore recognised in the Europe 2020 strategy.
Stopping industrial decline
The EU must reverse the industrial decline that started in the 1990s and accelerated during the crisis, bringing the proportion of GDP accounted for by manufacturing down to 15.1% and a loss of over 3.5 million jobs in industry.
Investment in Europe has fallen by € 350 billion over the last decade; our share of global investment has halved from 40 % to 20 %. The centre of gravity of manufacturing output has shifted to the emerging economies.
This decline is bad for the economy. In fact, 80 % of innovation and exports come from industry and for every job created in manufacturing up to two are created in the service sector.
Industry that is more modern and sustainable
As President Barroso pointed out, it is no accident that the industrial renaissance strategy has been adopted together with the climate/energy package.
It is essential for the ambitious emissions reduction targets to be in step with the target of 20 % of GDP being accounted for by manufacturing. We are firmly convinced that modern and competitive industry with access to energy and raw materials at reasonable prices must be the first response to the problems of sustainability and energy security that we are facing.
Today's package is ambitious but balanced, with a good match between industry and the environment.
Within the framework of our reindustrialisation strategy, we are working along four lines: (i) credit; (ii) access to markets; (iii) training; (iv) more investment in close-to-market innovation.
At a time when resources are tight, we have identified a number of priority technological fields with high potential and spin-off effects for all sectors, including more traditional sectors: bio-economics, key enabling technologies, clean vehicles, smart grids, raw materials, sustainable buildings and advanced technologies for manufacturing and space.
These sectors are also essential for strengthening our innovative capacity in the green economy, on which millions of new jobs depend. For example, bio-economics, nanotechnology, new materials and smart grids are essential for obtaining competitive renewable energy sources; green cars and buildings are making an essential contribution to saving energy and reducing emissions; and the Copernicus earth observation system will play a key role in monitoring climate change.
More resources for the new industrial revolution
This industrial revolution, which Europe seeks to lead, requires massive investment.
Today's Communication therefore calls for greater use of EU resources, regional funds, Horizon 2020 and Cosme, in conjunction with loans from the European Investment Bank, to drive forward private investment and facilitate access to credit and venture capital.
A further € 100 billion in regional funding is envisaged by 2020 for investment in innovation, which includes the six strategic areas identified by the Commission.
For the first time, it will also be possible to supplement the regional funds by allocating a large proportion of the € 80 billion of Horizon 2020 to industrial projects that are close to market. To this we can add the €2.5 billion from COSME, for competitiveness and access to finance.
The State as an ally of business
The most profound change that Europe has to make concerns the context in which firms operate and relations with public authorities.
The results obtained from the Directive on late payment show us that the European Union can play an even more forceful role.
That is why we are proposing a new Small Business Act laying down real binding legal rules, such as, for example,3 days and €100 to set up a business, 30 days to obtain a trading permit and shorter deadlines for recovering debts.
Furthermore, through campaigns such as REFIT, the Commission is committed to further reducing the administrative burden while at the same time bolstering competitiveness proofing, total cost analysis and fitness checks before and after regulatory measures are adopted. A great deal of red tape and anti-business regulations are produced by States and local bodies. We are therefore calling for the Commission's measures to be replicated at national and regional level.
In 2014 the Commission will propose a strategy for increasing administrative efficiency.
True economic diplomacy
Between now and 2015 90 % of growth will take place in third countries, which is why improved access to international markets is essential for the relaunch of industry.
We must focus on free-trade agreements, starting with the agreement with the USA.
We are the world's leading economic, industrial and trading power. Our know-how and the quality of our products are sought after everywhere. We must find out how to make this great strength count through economic diplomacy, which is essential, after all, for such a policy.
In addition to trade openings we must ensure access to raw materials and energy at competitive prices and protect our own intellectual property.
In accordance with this approach, since 2011 I have led European companies on a great many missions for growth, to facilitate business opportunities and finalise cooperation agreements.
A true internal market for products
Twenty-two per cent of our GDP is linked to the free movement of products. This huge potential could increase if the penalties for infringing EU legislation were harmonised. There are still too many differences at national level, creating a risk that companies will fail to obey the rules or move to countries where penalties are less severe.
We are therefore proposing a Regulation to harmonise penalties, to ensure compliance with legislation and competition between companies.
It is not sufficient for the Commission alone to focus on industrial competitiveness: the Member States must do so, too.
For example, the Member States must quickly adopt and implement the measures proposed by the Commission to create a true internal market for goods and services, without technical barriers and with a modern system of interconnecting infrastructures.
We are determined to play our part to the full and hope that the Member States will do likewise.