Industry must be placed centre stage if Europe is to remain a global economic leader. This is the core message of the Communication on "An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era" adopted by the European Commission on 28th October 2010 on the initiative of Vice-President Antonio Tajani. The Communication, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy , sets out a strategy that aims to boost growth and jobs by maintaining and supporting a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe offering well-paid jobs while becoming more resource efficient.
An integrated industrial policy
“Industry is at the heart of Europe and indispensable for finding solutions to the challenges of our society, today and in the future. Europe needs industry and industry needs Europe. We must tap into the full potential of the Single Market, its 500 million consumers and its 20 million entrepreneurs.”
Vice President Antonio Tajani
In this era of intensifying globalisation, the concept of national sectors and industries is obsolete. Coordinated European policy responses are needed. Europe also needs an approach that looks at the whole value chain, from infrastructure and raw materials to after-sales service. Promoting the creation and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises has to be at the core of EU industrial policy. Moreover, the transition to a sustainable economy has to be seized as an opportunity to strengthen competitiveness. Only a European Industrial Policy targeting competitiveness and sustainability can muster the critical mass of change and coordination needed for success. There will be no sustainability without competitiveness, and there will be no long-lasting competitiveness without sustainability. And there will be none of them without a quantum leap in innovation!
Related policy areas
In short, the concept of an integrated industrial policy means that it encompasses a full range of EU policies such as competition, trade, innovation or energy since they all have an impact on the competitiveness of industry. In addition, the integrated policy puts on equal footing competitiveness and sustainability. Finally, the integrated approach emphasizes the need for cooperation and coordination of efforts between the European Commission and the Member States.
Living up to the ambitions of a strong, diversified and competitive industrial base in Europe requires mutually reinforcing policies. This concerns notably the flagship initiatives developed under the Europe 2020 strategy and strategies such as the one on the EU's Single Market, adopted on 27 October 2011. A special emphasis is also given to intellectual property rights whose protection is an important factor of success in the knowledge-based economy and which serve as incentive to invest in product and process innovation.
The flagship initiative highlights ten key actions for European industrial competitiveness:
- "Competitiveness proofing" i.e. analysis of the impact on competitiveness of all policy proposals;
- "Fitness checks" of existing legislation aiming at reduction of the cumulative effects of legislation so as to cut the costs for businesses in Europe;
- Making it easier for SMEs to access credit and help their internationalisation;
- A strategy to strengthen European standardisation;
- More efficient European transport, energy and communication infrastructure and services to serve European industry;
- A new strategy on raw materials creating the right framework conditions for sustainable supply and management of domestic primary raw materials;
- Addressing sector-specific innovation performance with specific actions, in such areas as advanced manufacturing technologies, construction, bio-fuels and road and rail transport, particularly in view of improving resource efficiency;
- Actions to improve framework conditions and support innovation in energy-intensive industries;
- A space industrial policy creating a solid industrial base and covering the whole supply chain;
- Reporting on Europe’s and Member State's competitiveness, industrial policies and performances on an annual basis.