Industry is the backbone of the European economy. It accounts for 80% of Europe’s exports and private innovations, and provides high-skilled jobs for citizens. Europe has a global competitive advantage on high value-added products and services. Innovation and competitiveness are therefore at the heart of the Commission’s agenda and, as we stand on the brink of a new industrial revolution, we are committed to supporting the transformation of EU industry.

What the European Commission does

Industrial policy

To make sure that Europe leads the current industrial revolution, the Commission uses all the instruments at its disposal to support the modernisation and digital transformation of industries, both of their production processes and business models, for the benefit of all Europeans. These actions are implemented within the framework of a comprehensive industrial policy


Competitiveness is a key determinant for growth and jobs in Europe and industrial competitiveness is a horizontal objective in all EU policies.  The Commission monitors competitiveness in the EU and analyses the impact of policy on competitiveness. It also aims to improve the quality of public administration, as an important driver of competitiveness.


Innovation is a key factor in the competitiveness of European industry. The EU implements policies and programmes that support the development of innovation to increase investment in research and development, and to better convert research into improved goods, services, or processes for the market.

Key enabling technologies

Key enabling technologies (KETs) are a key element of European industrial policy. They provide the basis for innovation in a range of products across all industrial sectors. They underpin the shift to a greener economy, are instrumental in modernising Europe’s industrial base, and drive the development of entirely new industries.

Sustainability and circular economy

The Commission aims to ensure coherence between industrial, environmental, climate and energy policy to create an optimal business environment for sustainable growth, job creation and innovation.  To support this, we have established an ambitious agenda to transform EU economy into a circular one, where the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible, bringing major economic benefits. The Commission also supports European industry in the move to a low-carbon economy and improves the energy efficiency of products through ecodesign legislation.

Intellectual property

The Commission works to harmonise laws relating to intellectual property rights (IPR) in EU countries to avoid barriers to trade and create efficient EU-wide systems for the protection of such rights. We work with authorities at all levels to strengthen the enforcement of IPR. We aim to help small businesses access and use IPR more effectively. 

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to companies taking responsibility for their impact on society. The Commission believes that CSR is important for the sustainability, competitiveness, and innovation of EU enterprises and the EU economy.

International activities

We help the internationalisation of EU businesses by ensuring a level playing field for them through bilateral, regional and international dialogues. We also contribute to the process of enlarging the EU