Summary of EU Industry Days 2021
EU Industry Days 2021 took place on 23 - 26 February, gathering 6,500 participants. Despite being fully digital, the event was very active and inclusive. Around 4,500 networking activities took place during the event. The conference featured many high profile speeches (some are available in the summary below), the views and opinions of more than 200 other speakers, networking opportunities, a digital exhibition and a dedicated podcast.
The 2021 edition focused on opportunities: amid accelerated transformation and the changing global competitive landscape, European industrial strategy builds a business case for a greener, more digital and resilient industry. It provides tools to support our industrial ecosystems in this transformation and reinforce their global competitiveness. At the same time, it replies to Europe’s societal call to create new quality jobs while respecting planetary boundaries.
The event came at a very timely moment. In the midst of the preparation of our updated industrial strategy, we received real input and impetus for our work: the confidence that the EU will recover stronger from the COVID-crisis, how industry is ready for the green and digital future, and how our single market/scale, speed and joined forces are the key drivers for industrial ecosystems.
Key factors for EU industrial transformation
EU Industry Days 2021 highlighted key factors to speed up industrial transformation in Europe.
A more resilient and connected single market
The single market needs more flexibility to enable faster scalability for innovative solutions and business models. We need to equip small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the right tools so they too can benefit from the single market, to reduce entry barriers for new companies, more standardisation and inter-operability. There is also need for stronger spirit of collaboration within the single market (regulatory and also, between large and small companies), less administrative burden and less fear of disruptive technologies or innovation (enabling regulatory framework).
At global level, strengthening our open strategic autonomy might require multilateral action whenever we can and autonomous action whenever we must. We should explore building on the various global and neighbourhood partnerships, find ways to develop our strategic capacities and make sure that our trade instruments are fit for the changing global situation.
Green and digital twin transition
To speed up the green transformation, while building a competitive industry, we need to reinforce European strategic capacities, ensure enough affordable decarbonised energy, put emphasis on innovation and the uptake of R&D, ensure the right skills for green jobs, use the potential of digital technologies for greening the industry and make sure that enough public and private financing is available. All this requires speed, scale and joined forces and a tailored approach to the respective industrial ecosystems.
The digital transformation also enables the green transition. Using this potential means putting people first, speeding up the R&I uptake, ensuring European industrial data ownership and sharing, fair and transparent rules for digital platforms and access to digital markets for all players (also SMEs). On the side of policy makers, it also requires adapting policy-making tools respective to the industrial ecosystems and using new ones (e.g. hackathons). Some of the aspects of digital transformation require global solutions (including Europe, US, China, India), e.g. digital companies paying they fair share of taxes. Trust among various industrial players and consumers is also key.
Actions presented at EU Industry Days
The event was also used to present a number of specific actions
- The launch of a new European Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon, dedicated to solving the most pressing smart health challenges in Europe.
- The launch of a new and enhanced version of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform, which promises to strengthen the European economy through collaboration by bringing together partners to work on a green and digital transition and Europe's economic recovery.
- Updates from industrial alliances such as the European Battery Alliance, the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, the European Raw Materials Alliance and the Circular Plastics Alliance were provided throughout the event during sessions with key stakeholders.
- In line with green industrial transformation, the relaunch of the Clean Energy Industrial Forum was presented. Through its new mandate it will play an important role in aligning the EU's industry strategy with its climate ambitions.
- The publication of the 2020 Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard was presented. The main objective of the scoreboard is to benchmark the performance of EU innovation-driven industries against major global counterparts, the results of which showed that companies in the EU are highly internationalised and have increased their investment in R&D for the tenth consecutive year.
Watch EU Industry Days 2021 sessions
It is still possible to watch session replays by clicking on the respective session in the EU Industry Days 2021 programme.