One of the great problems in Europe is that, even though the EU has very good research and development capacities in some KET areas, the commercialisation of research results is not effectively capitalised. This implies that costly research carried out in the EU often leads to capitalisation in other regions.
Given the above, three initial reasons for the study were identified:
1. As can be seen from the recent Commission Communication on an integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era (COM (2010) 614), the crisis has shown that it is important to look at value chains when assessing Europe’s competitiveness. For instance, when car production slowed down in Europe because of the crisis, this had implications for other industries as well, such as glass, steel, etc.
2. The fragmentation and internationalisation of value chains not only generates benefits but also risks. There are challenges in e.g. making organisations reliable, and in ensuring security of supply (not only for the production structure but also for the structure of ownership).
3. Dynamic components – a risk inherent in the outsourcing of value chains is that it nurtures competitors. Suppliers may end up being direct competitors.
The overall objective of the study is therefore to analyse the degree and the consequences arising from the internationalisation, fragmentation and security of supply of value chains for European industry. The focus is predominantly on the supply side (i.e. upstream) as opposed to the demand, downstream, side. While globalisation can indeed be a positive development for Europe, there are also risks involved.
In undertaking a comprehensive literature review, developing a robust methodology and carrying out detailed case studies including a large number of interviews, this study presents a well-grounded analysis of the most significant trends in internationalisation and fragmentation of EU value chains which have broad relevance. This also contributes to specific suggestions for EU and Member State policy makers, as well as improved understanding of how to assess the risks and benefits of international value chains from an EU perspective.