Enterprise and Industry
Under the right conditions, Europe’s aluminium industry can flourish. At present, however, factors such as increasing electricity prices and burdensome regulations threaten EU plants. The European Commission is therefore evaluating how to address these challenges and ensure a brighter future for aluminium production in Europe.
Galileo and Copernicus, two European satellite programmes, are advancing Europe’s march into the 21st century. By making high-quality Earth observation data widely available, Galileo and Copernicus will help a multitude of sectors take off.
Over the past four years, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani launched several action plans to help core industry sectors overcome difficulties arising from overcapacity, high production costs and trade distortions. The aim is to reshape, support and strengthen the EU’s industrial base.
The supply of raw materials, the lifeblood of today's high-tech industry, is increasingly under pressure. Thus, as Europe shifts towards a more resource-efficient economy, the European Commission is committed to using any and all resources at our disposal – including waste. This push is part of European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani’s European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on raw materials, designed to establish Europe as the leader in raw material exploration, extraction, processing and recycling by 2020.
At the beginning of 2014, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani unveiled his plan for a ‘European Industrial Renaissance’. In an interview with Enterprise & Industry Magazine, Vice-President Tajani explains why the Commission is pushing for this Renaissance, and what Member States need to do to keep European industry on the road to recovery.
While counterfeit items weaken the EU economy, they strengthen organised crime. Because these products are illegal, they are underpinned by a black market that weaves through different countries and sometimes even different continents. While purchasing a counterfeit might seem innocent enough, supporting these products indirectly supports crime.
In the summertime, Europe’s waters come to life with several million motor boats, sail boats, jet skis and other recreational crafts. These tourist favourites are set to become safer and cleaner, with new legislation making the use of such crafts less harmful to the environment. This, in turn, will make European craft more attractive to external markets.
Key enabling technologies (KETs) are an essential element of 21st century industry. Comprising advancements such as nanotechnology and industrial biotechnology, KETs enhance conventional industrial products and provide enormous economic potential. Because third countries are investing so heavily in KET industries – and sometimes adopting measures which distort the international market – the European Commission is taking steps to ensure that the EU remains competitive in KETs.
Competitive enterprises are the foundation of economic success. In 2013, Member States improved their business environment, exports and sustainability, but many roadblocks still remain – particularly for industrial competitiveness. For example, the cost of energy is increasing in almost all Member States, while decreased investment and access to finance are further contributing to the deindustrialisation of Europe. Only by overcoming these hurdles can the EU achieve the sort of industrial competitiveness it needs in the 21st century.
Designed to defraud and deceive, counterfeit products pose a threat to European citizens and the European economy. Counterfeits’ inferior quality raises significant health and safety concerns, and their fraudulent business model puts thousands of jobs in jeopardy. In an interview with E&I Magazine, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani discusses the Commission’s EU-wide anti-counterfeit campaign and why fake products require real action.
Europe is already the world’s No 1 tourist destination. But in an effort to tap into emerging markets and ensure the continued growth of tourism-related industries, the European Commission is spearheading reforms to make it even easier for international tourists to visit the EU.
Europe made its first venture into satellite navigation with EGNOS, a service which has significantly improved the accuracy of existing satellite positioning signals. Now, huge advancements in aviation are also being made as EGNOS – already available at more than 80 EU airports – enables more precise landings, fewer delays and diversions and more efficient routes.
The European Commission will combine Europe’s satellite navigation system, ‘Galileo,’ with its United States counterpart, ‘GPS.’ A bilateral agreement with a worldwide impact, this synergy will help make air travel safer, and help establish much-needed international standards for air navigation systems.
Construction companies wishing to expand their business to another EU Member State need to know the challenges they might face. Employment, environmental and safety requirements may differ, quite like those for construction materials and products. The European Commission has launched several initiatives to help enterprises overcome these difficulties, equipping construction companies with the information they need to be successful in other EU countries.
Space debris poses a risk to our space infrastructure and to the space services we rely on in our daily lives. European satellite operators lose roughly €140 million per year due to collisions, and that total will rise to about €210 million within the next decade. Therefore, the European Commission has introduced measures to help EU Member States combine their space surveillance and tracking (SST) technology. The proposed European SST service will allow Member States to locate and monitor satellites and dangerous debris, alert satellite operators of collision risks and notify public administrations of so-called uncontrolled re-entries.
Following the creation of its blueprint for raising industry’s contribution to EU GDP from 16 % to 20 % by 2020, the European Commission will host a conference on Industrial Policy on 6 June in Brussels. By bringing together political leaders, business people and industry experts, the conference will focus on progress made so far, as well as further action that can bring immediate benefits to help restore industrial growth.
European brands account for at least 70 % of the global high-end goods market. And while high-end products are usually associated with fashion, the sector consists of a wide range of products and services: cars, yachts, furniture, wines, spirits and more. The European Commission is committed to ensuring Europe’s high-end sector continues to thrive.
The fashion industry is responsible for more than just the latest trends. Between retail outlets, manufacturers and links in the supply chain, Europe’s fashion sector accounts for hundreds of thousands of companies and millions of jobs. The Commission is taking the necessary steps to ensure that the industry continues to thrive, including eliminating trade barriers, protecting intellectual property and facilitating entry into international markets.
Europe needs its real economy now more than ever to underpin our ongoing economic recovery. As such, EU actions will be designed to reverse the current downward trend and to promote the reindustrialisation of Europe. Industry currently accounts for about 16% of EU GDP. Therefore, the European Commission has set its goal that industry's share of GDP should be around 20% by 2020.
The European Commission is promoting future space exploration with the Planetary Robotics Vision Scout project, or PRoViScout. As a collaborative EU project, PRoViScout unites major European groups working to create robotic vision for planetary space exploration. The result is futuristic technology – today.
An international communication campaign is currently highlighting the diverse cultural heritage and natural beauty that Europe has to offer at any time of the year. The ‘Europe – Whenever you’re ready’ campaign, which will run from the end of 2012 until December 2013, reminds tourists to discover the old continent and enjoy the travel experience of a lifetime.
Despite the ongoing effects of the global economic crisis, European Union Member States have made good progress towards strengthening the sustainability and competitiveness of their industrial sectors. That said, there is still work to be done. And in an effort to facilitate reform and policy learning, the European Commission has released a new Industrial Performance Scoreboard.
The European automotive industry is a major driving force of the European economy, but it is currently facing a number of pressing challenges. The recommendations of the CARS 21 High Level Group should help the sector pursue a sustainable future delivering economic growth and jobs. Cleaner alternative fuels and vehicles as well as developing more sophisticated road safety technologies and gaining better access to third markets are part of this vision leading up to 2020.
Tourism has a huge impact on the EU economy affecting up to 14 million jobs. A 2012 survey offers an interesting insight into the preferences of European tourists and shows that 73% of the EU respondents plan to travel this year.
The European Commission has put forward an ambitious European Innovation Partnership for raw materials whose objective is to establish Europe as the vanguard of raw material exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution technologies by 2020. Central aims include ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials for the European industry, as well as helping EU companies put innovative technologies onto the market along the entire value chain.
Raw materials are high on the agenda as their sustainable supply can provide a key contribution in several areas, ranging from development to industrial competitiveness. Good governance, investment & infrastructure and geological knowledge & skills were the three main themes for discussions at a high-level conference about the Africa-EU partnership on raw materials.
The launch of the first two Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites on 21 October 2011 was a red-letter day for the European Union's global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and the project continues to advance through important milestones. While the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is going to set up its headquarters in Prague, new contracts for satellites and launchers signed in the presence of Vice President Tajani ensure that Galileo will deliver its first services in 2014 as planned. The potential benefits for the European industry and the economy at large are significant.
By rewarding tourist areas which pursue a sustainable development path, the EDEN initiative boosts awareness of Europe's touristic diversity and quality, and helps to spread good practices. The 2011 edition focused on the regeneration of physical sites which were converted into tourism attractions and catalysts for wider local regeneration: join us for a tour of excellence.
Although Europe’s construction products sector is economically important, it has not yet fully exploited the opportunities offered by the single market due to remaining trade barriers. To address this, a new Regulation aims to simplify the legislative framework and strengthen the credibility of the system. The EU has also been working on several initiatives to promote the sustainability and the competitiveness of the construction sector on the whole.
The REACH Regulation is designed to deliver both a high level of protection from the potential risks posed by chemical substances and a strong, innovative European industry that is competitive on the global market. REACH concerns not only the traditional chemical industry, but also businesses from several other sectors. Relevant companies need to start working on registration now in order to meet the 1 June 2013 deadline. The European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency have developed tools to make sure that SMEs are well equipped and ready to fulfil their obligations.
The EU ensures the security of its citizens across a wide swath of activities, from civil protection against natural hazards to the protection of their food chain. Guarding against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) hazards is an especially important focus of the EU’s Security Research programme, which will also boost Europe’s industrial competitiveness.
The European Commission’s presence at the world’s largest biotech and life science event is a sign of how seriously it takes its role of supporting the sector and boosting its innovativeness and global competitiveness.
While some may consider space to be a luxury that Europe cannot afford during a time of austerity, nothing could be further from the truth. Improving the safety and daily lives of European citizens thanks to radio navigation, guiding tractors by satellite for high-yield crops, optimising responses to humanitarian crisis. This is not science fiction but just a few examples of innovations related to space technologies developed today. Many thousands of highly skilled jobs rely on the sector, which is working to make people’s lives easier and safer, and European industry as a whole more competitive. To ensure continued success, the European Commission is developing an integrated space policy that will strengthen Europe’s space infrastructure.
While an innovative and competitive European defence industry is key to meet the objectives of the Common Security and Defence Policy, this highly sensitive sector has often been constrained by market fragmentation. Two European Directives will now strengthen the foundations of an open and competitive European Defence Equipment Market and a long-term, strong and genuine European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. On the occasion of the transposition of these Directives, a high level conference, chaired jointly by Commission Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Barnier, will discuss new challenges the sector is facing.
The European Commission has officially launched the EGNOS Safety-of-Life Service for aviation, providing a new means of increasing air transport efficiency and safety. The EGNOS system enables safe landing approaches in difficult weather and topographic conditions, without any ground infrastructure, rendering air navigation safer while reducing delays, diversions and flight cancellations.
Medieval alchemists sought to turn copper into gold. Even though modern-day chemists focus their research on different objectives, the compounds and materials they produce are truly awe-inspiring and are the bedrock upon which one of Europe’s most important, innovative and competitive industries is built. As the sector is now facing the realities of a new decade, the European Commission has taken initiatives to encourage all involved actors to join forces to boost the competitiveness of the European chemicals industry and to fully use its potential to resolve the societal challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy.
Raw materials play a key role in industrial competitiveness, including in sectors developing environmentally friendly technologies, such as electric cars and photovoltaics. Building on previous initiatives, the European Commission has proposed a set of actions that seek to enhance the EU’s access to raw materials in its competitiveness, social and environmental dimensions.
European space policy is at a turning point, with the Lisbon Treaty providing a new legal basis for action in this domain. Following a high-level conference in October, E&I magazine takes a tour of European space initiatives, a source of inspiration and innovation, and a powerful means of stimulating growth and improving the quality of people's lives.
A competitive industry is key if Europe is to remain a global economic leader. In order to promote a successful industrial policy in our fast changing world, the European Commission has set out a wide-ranging strategy that aims to maintain and support a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe. This industrial base should play an important role in meeting crucial objectives for the European economy, such as creating new jobs and promoting sustainable growth.
'Social tourism' may not be a concept that all Europeans are familiar with yet. But it is already a growing phenomenon, which the European Commission has been promoting for both its social and economic benefits. Now the EU is investing in new projects to develop cross-border low-season tourism opportunities. The Calypso initiative aims to open up new horizons for younger and older travellers, disabled people and low-income families, while creating new jobs and business opportunities during quieter times of the year.
While the EU is a global leader in many of the forest-based industries, innovative solutions are needed to maintain a high level of performance.. The European Commission is supporting the sector in its efforts to further develop its sustainability and competitiveness. Bio-refineries are an area of particular interest, as they can help to find new products that can also deliver on environmental objectives. Significant research activities have been launched in this field.
Despite its size and success, the European food industry is facing a number of challenges. The European Commission has been promoting initiatives to support the competitive position and sustainability of the sector, while ensuring public policy priorities, such as food safety and security of supply.
Europe is the world's top tourist destination. In order to maintain this lead amid changing global circumstances, the European Commission has released a policy strategy which signposts 21 actions on the path to a more competitive and sustainable 21st-century European tourism sector.