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VP Tajani meets EU Industrial Ministers in Paris

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"The EU cannot afford to fall further in the sector that provides 34 million jobs, absorbs 80 % of our research and development spending; generates 75 % of our exports and accounts for 25 % of total employment. The European Summit in February 2014 will be dedicated to industry and this is a historic opportunity to put industry and industrial policy at the heart of the European growth strategy. The Commission will bring a strong contribution to the table, and will encourage the Member States to play an active and coordinated role in achieving the reindustrialisation of Europe."

After a substantial recovery in 2009-2011, the pulse of EU industry got weaker again.

Industry’s share of Europe’s GDP has declined from 15.5 % one year ago to 15.1 % in the summer 2013, placing us further from the 20 % target which the European Commission set in 2012.

Some progress has been made, especially in the business environment and exports, but our competitors are recovering faster. The United States, for example, has almost reached its pre-crisis industrial production level and is now only 0.6 % below the 2007 average. In comparison, Europe’s industrial production remains 13 % down compared to early 2008. The picture remains especially bleak in Southern Europe, with extreme situations in Portugal, Italy, Spain and Greece.

To help kick-start ailing European industry, European industry ministers are meeting in Paris today for an informal debate and a conference titled “Boosting the Competitiveness of European Industry in a Globalised Economy”.

The conference is hosted by the French Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg, and European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani will also attend. This meeting is a crucial step in preparation for the February 2014 European Council dedicated to industry, where new steps might be taken to improve the implementation of the EU industrial policy and remove major roadblocks to industrial competitiveness, such as increasing energy prices, difficult access to finance, and cumbersome public administration.

During the opening remarks of today’s conference, Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "The EU cannot afford to fall further in the sector that provides 34 million jobs, absorbs 80 % of our research and development spending; generates 75 % of our exports and accounts for 25 % of total employment. The European Summit in February 2014 will be dedicated to industry and this is a historic opportunity to put industry and industrial policy at the heart of the European growth strategy. The Commission will bring a strong contribution to the table, and will encourage the Member States to play an active and coordinated role in achieving the reindustrialisation of Europe."

Background information: the road to the February 2014 industry summit
To address industry’s shrinking share of European GDP, the EU has taken a number of initiatives in recent months. The June 2012 European Council, a Communication issued by the European Commission in October 2012 (IP/12/1085) and the conclusions of the December 2012 Competitiveness Council have all contributed to the recognition for the central status of industrial policy in the EU’s growth.

Additionally, the Commission issued two industrial competitiveness reports this fall, which identified main roadblocks that EU industry faces as well as strengths that it should build on in the future (IP/13/862). The result is that there is now a growing consensus on the need to strengthen the EU industrial policy.

"The EU cannot afford to fall further in the sector that provides 34 million jobs, absorbs 80 % of our research and development spending; generates 75 % of our exports and accounts for 25 % of total employment. The European Summit in February 2014 will be dedicated to industry and this is a historic opportunity to put industry and industrial policy at the heart of the European growth strategy. The Commission will bring a strong contribution to the table, and will encourage the Member States to play an active and coordinated role in achieving the reindustrialisation of Europe."

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