Dear Madam, Dear Sir,
I am pleased to send you the summary of the results we accomplished together in 2012, with the goal of renewing an initiative that, starting four years ago, has become a commitment and set appointment. Attached you will find the full and detailed list of our achievements to support growth, and small and middle enterprises.
The goal of this review is not only to offer a chance for a joint evaluation of what we have done, but also to provide you with a practical instrument to support your communication with the citizens and on the territory.
Economic governance and financial sector reforms did not exhaust our commitment which, as we all know, needs to be completed with a more profound and resolute action to promote investments and growth.
The Commission, the Parliament and the Council must act, jointly and supporting each other, to overcome any form of antagonism that could negatively affect our current real priority, which is employment.
With over 26 million of unemployed people, Europe's response cannot be limited to austerity measures that – while necessary – need to be accompanied by policies to support the re-launch of growth and innovation. As I mentioned several times, we cannot ask European citizens and enterprises to endure more sacrifices without providing them, at the same time, with more confidence for the future.
In order to sustain competitiveness and employment, industry, and small and middle enterprises require a favourable environment. If Europe does not restart being an "attractive" place for industry, our industrial know-how will be lost elsewhere, along with millions of jobs.
Based on these beliefs, with our new industrial policy adopted last October, the Commission reaffirmed the centrality of the European industrial patrimony, setting the goal of 20% of GDP coming from the manufacturing sector by 2020.
Last year saw, at last, the emergence of critical situations in strategic industrial sectors for European competitiveness, such as the automotive, steel and shipbuilding industry. For this reason, I promoted High Level Roundtables to bring together industry, trade unions and Member States. Some of these dialogues have already started to produce important results – for example the approval of the 'CARS 2020' plan – while others will bring concrete results over the course of 2013, with the adoption of specific plans for the steel and shipbuilding industry.
A common element in these initiatives is the centrality of research and innovation activities focused on competitiveness and growth of different industrial sectors.
In this context, in the next few weeks the key passage of the approval of the new budget 2014-2020 represents the main instrument to promote growth. With the allocation of EUR 80 billion for industrial research and innovation and, thanks to the creation of 'COSME' – the new program that doubles funds for SMEs – the commission has given a clear political signal to support access to credit and the real economy.
As the end of my mandate is approaching, 2013 represent a decisive year for me to achieve the last commitments I anticipated during my hearing in front of the Parliament. Based on the previous annual summaries, I can claim that most of these commitments and goals became reality.
In the next few months I plan to concentrate my efforts on four main projects:
|1)||Implementation of the European Industrial Policy, focusing on access to credit, a regulation and trade policy more closely connected to competitiveness with the adoption of competitiveness proofing tests, fitness checks and analyses of the combined effects of legislation and commercial agreements on the enterprises and, lastly, more attention to transparency of foreign investments in the EU.
|2)||Strengthening the Internal Market, with the adoption in the coming weeks of a new Package for Market Surveillance and Products Safety and, after the summer, of a new Regulation for the Circulation of Industrial Products.
|3)||Provision of the First Services of the Galileo Space System, starting from the end of 2014. The first completely European infrastructure has now entered its operative stage and, consequently, it will contribute to the acceleration of the new industrial revolution in many key sectors for our economy.
|4)||Reinforcing the Competitiveness of Europe's Defence Industry, thanks to the adoption in the forthcoming months of a dedicated Communication to promote concrete valued-adding initiatives for this strategic sector, integrating in a single package European instruments and policies. This initiative will constitute, furthermore, a central contribution to the European Defence Council that will take place in December.
Lastly, internationalization remains one of the cornerstones of my action. I am referring, in particular, to the 'Missions for Growth' that have become a recognized and consolidated model, aimed at favouring new concrete business opportunities for European enterprises in third countries. In this context, I will continue to put my efforts into facilitating the release of Touristic Visas to promote a higher influx of foreign visitors to Europe.
All of our challenges and commitments – summarized in this letter and in the attached document – require an even stronger collaboration from all of you.
For this reason, I am always willing to listen to your suggestions, reflections and proposals, wishing you all the best for a productive 2013.
Vice-President of the European Commission