New plans for EU industry to create jobs while keeping manufacturing in Europe.
Europe’s industry has been hit hard by the economic downturn. But with signs of recovery now apparent, the commission has prepared plans to strengthen the sector for the future.
The new industrial policy is based on the assumptions that national industries have no place in today’s globalised world, and keeping a strong manufacturing sector will provide a variety of well-paid jobs. The transition to a sustainable economy must be seized as a business opportunity to strengthen competitiveness.
The policy is one of seven “flagship initiatives” within the Europe 2020 plan to encourage smart, sustainable and fair growth. Its objectives include:
“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!” said industry commissioner Antonio Tajani.
Reports are to be produced each year on the competitiveness of the EU as a whole and the member countries individually. A first report looks at the health of each country’s manufacturing sector, relevant research and innovation activity and sustainability approaches.
For the UK, for example, the report notes a significant rise in labour costs over the last decade, and a 15% drop in output during the economic crisis. The Austrian economy, while very competitive and without major bottlenecks, would benefit from education reforms to boost the number of Austrian entrepreneurs.
Manufacturing provides jobs for a quarter of Europeans working in the private sector. It also accounts for 80% of all private sector research.