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An Industry Action Plan for a more competitive, sustainable and strategic European Union

Industrial policy / ISSUE PAPER
Marco Giuli , Claire Dhéret , Johan Bjerkem , Marta Pilati

Date: 07/11/2019
European industry is falling behind. New and unprecedented challenges and megatrends, from a slowdown in global trade to digital disruption and climate change, are making it increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, despite these fast-paced developments, industry remains the backbone of the European economy, delivering high-quality jobs, innovation and world-class companies. To retain its competitive edge, the EU must embrace change and renew its industrial strategy.
There is growing political momentum for a revived EU industrial strategy, both in the member states and in the new von der Leyen Commission, which pledged to put forward a new industrial strategy as part of a “European Green Deal”.
This Issue Paper presents the results of the EPC’s Task Force on an Industry Action Plan for the European Union, which started in February 2018. It argues that in renewing its industrial strategy, the EU should put in place an ‘Industry Action Plan’, complete with new policy tools and concrete industrial initiatives. Beyond mainstreaming industrial competitiveness across policy areas, the Action Plan should provide a more holistic and policy-oriented approach, with a vision towards 2030 that focuses on competitiveness, sustainability and strategic autonomy:
  • Firstly, to ensure that the European industry remains competitive, the EU should aim to play a stronger role in global value chains, with a higher value-added.
  • Secondly, the EU must create the conditions for the European industry, as well as the products and services it provides, to become sustainable and thus contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate-neutrality in alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. European industry should become fully climate-neutral by 2050 and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable and circular business models.
  • Finally, an Industry Action Plan should contribute to achieving greater strategic autonomy for Europe by better responding to distorted competition and levering market power, and moving towards more technological sovereignty. Europe should mobilise all the tools at its disposal to become a global leader in developing digital technologies that address the societal, environmental and health challenges of today.
This Paper includes a list of recommendations centred around five policy strands:
  1. making the Single Market (including competition policy) work;
  2. improving innovation policy and achieving technological sovereignty;
  3. acting strategically and enforcing reciprocity;
  4. ensuring a fair and inclusive industrial transition; and
  5. climate-proofing industry with a 2050 climate neutrality roadmap.

Read the full paper here

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