"Europe needs a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base"
Industrial policy is one of the key flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. A successful policy will translate directly into growth and jobs. It will also enable the European economy to increase production without consuming more resources and energy or producing more greenhouse gases.
All industries, all jobs are important and there is no reason to play off different sectors or industries against each other. Isolated, national value chains and industries are not sustainable solutions. The crisis of the car industry in 2009 clearly illustrated the interdependence of different sectors across different borders.
It's not enough to make just one element of the value chain (R&D, manufacturing, etc.) more competitive. A holistic approach should be applied, including for example the competitiveness of infrastructures or financial regulations affecting access to credit.
Delivering a new, ambitious industrial policy will require better governance and coordinated, EU-level action. Implementing such a policy will be a key priority for me during my mandate.
Industry is vitally important
The financial and economic crisis has shown very clearly how important it is for our economies to be based on strong, diversified and competitive industrial structures:
- manufacturing represents 1 out of every 4 private-sector jobs in Europe
- services related to industry represent another 1 job in 4
- industry drives improvements in innovation and productivity
- industry delivers the technologies needed to tackle climate change, sustainable mobility, management of scarce resources and demographic change.
Europe can do better
European industry is still globally competitive and a leader in a number of markets. But new, dynamic, competitive players are emerging, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Ultimately, this process risks shifting production away from Europe and diminishing or even reversing our competitive edge.
Rather than allowing industry to disappear from Europe, we need to modernise it and make it more environmentally friendly. Europe's single market, 500 million consumers and 20 million entrepreneurs represent an enormous potential.
Key issues for industry
- taking advantage of opportunities in new international markets and responding to intensified global competition, including for access to raw materials
- key role of the Single Market and creating a favourable entrepreneurial and business environment, especially for small businesses
- importance of technology and innovation, in particular of new key enabling technologies, interdisciplinary innovation and ICT
- improving energy and resource efficiency and making the transition to a low-carbon economy
- shortage of adequate skills in the workforce and the need to manage restructuring.
Industrial policy in the broadest sense
When developing industrial policies to put the EU economy back on the road to growth, we will be asking the following questions:
- Does a given policy help cut costs, lower prices and promote innovation in a specific sector or industry as a whole?
- Does it improve competitiveness in areas such as transport, energy, environment, social and consumer-protection, single-market and trade?
- Does it take into account the whole value chain, from access to raw materials to after-sale services?
Commissioner Tajani addresses 2nd high-level conference on industrial competitiveness –Brussels 2010
An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era putting competitiveness and sustainability at centre stage – COM/2010/0614 final
This communication proposes key actions to make European industry more competitive:
- "competitiveness proofing" of new legislation
- "fitness checks" of existing legislation to reduce the cumulative effects of legislation and lower costs for European businesses
- easier access to credit for small businesses and help to expand internationally
- promoting standardisation in the EU to make industry more productive
- upgrading transport, energy and communications infrastructure and services
- ensuring sustainable supplies of raw materials
- promoting sector-specific innovation in advanced manufacturing technologies, construction, bio-fuels, road and rail transport
- making energy-intensive industries more competitive and less dependent on future energy prices
- developing an industrial policy for European space products and services that covers the whole supply chain
- annual reports by the Commission on EU countries' competitiveness and industrial policies.