Industrial competitiveness refers on one side to the ability of companies to compete in domestic and global markets. On the other side, it relates to the capacity of EU countries to support the development of businesses. Competitiveness is a key determinant for growth and jobs in Europe and it is very important for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), the backbone of the EU economy.

Competitiveness in the EU

The European Commission places great emphasis on competitiveness, given its importance in creating jobs and growth in Europe. It works to mainstream industry-related competitiveness concerns across all policy areas.

In particular, for EU countries the focus is on ensuring that they:

  • benefit from simplified public administration and more broadly, a business-friendly environment;
  • gain proper access to markets, both internally and internationally;
  • benefit from good infrastructure;
  • have sufficient access to resources, including finance, raw materials, energy and suitably skilled labour.

On the other side, European businesses must:

  • be at the forefront of research and innovative practices;
  • produce goods in a sustainable manner;
  • undertake a sufficient level of investment

These goals are achieved through a combination of EU, national and sector policies. The Commission also monitors the policies of the EU Member States and interacts with EU countries on competitiveness issues through, amongst others, the Competitiveness Council.

To monitor competitiveness, the Commission publishes two competitiveness reports: the EU Competitiveness Report and the Member States Competitiveness Report.

What the Commission is doing

To support and promote industrial competitiveness, the Commission: