One of the principle missions of the European Commission is to promote the competitiveness of the ICT industries and services and to support the take-up of ICT and e-business practices by European enterprises.
The Commission is pursuing, as emphasised in its Communication on Industrial Policy in an Enlarged Europe ( COM(2002)714 final ) , a horizontal industrial policy aimed at securing favourable framework conditions to industrial competitiveness.
The communication also stresses the necessity of following a sectoral approach, taking into account the specific needs and characteristics of individual sectors. A systematic implementation of this sectoral dimension is seen as being of major importance for improving the effectiveness of EU industrial policy and its contribution to the success of the Lisbon process.
ICT is among the leading sectors in Europe and affects economic growth across the economy in three ways:
- For the EU as a whole, the ICT sector share of total business value added is 8.5 % and the ICT sector employment constitutes 3 % of total business sector employment in the EU.
- The most important benefits of ICT arise from its effective use. ICT investments help to raise labour productivity.
- The use of ICT throughout the value chain enables firms to increase their overall efficiency and makes them more competitive.
In order to further promote the competitiveness of the EU's ICT sector, a study with the objective of analysing the impact of open source software on the competitiveness of European enterprises, notably in software and ICT, was completed in November 2006.
A Commission Staff Working Paper was published in June 2006 with the objective of identifying and discussing the factors and drivers linked to the EU's ICT competitiveness, in order to improve the understanding of the economics behind ICT.
In 2009-2010, the Commission published seven technical and economical prospective studies meant to assess the competitiveness of the European ICT enterprises in the following IC technologies and product markets:
Web 2.0, OLEDs and e-Paper, Semiconductor design, RFID, Videogames, Robotics and Automotive embedded systems.