Sustainable Prosperity for Europe

An Industry Action Plan for the European Union

Industrial transformations

European industry needs to transform to become future-proof. Increased competition over natural and human resources, volatile prices for energy and raw materials, climate change, digitalisation and automation are affecting businesses across industries. At the same time, rising mercantilist practices take the form of dumping strategies or restricted access to public procurements under the umbrella of industrial flagship initiatives (e.g. ‘Made in China 2025’, ‘Make in India’, ‘America First’).

Citizens and governments across Europe often feel they lack the tools to respond to these challenges. Beyond the opportunities it provides, digitalisation has also led to the emergence of new, cyber-threats which have raised a number of issues linked to data security and data protection. As populism prospers on people’s fears of globalisation and technological change, EU member states are under pressure to support their industrial champions and protect local jobs. However, the resurgence of uncoordinated industrial policies across Europe could distort the single market and undermine the EU’s competitiveness and prosperity.

While the EU aims to promote industrial competitiveness across sectors and policies, arguably more could be done to coordinate member states’ action to ensure successful industrial transformations. This requires addressing the possibilities and challenges related to innovation, digitalisation and sustainability across industrial value chains. The EPC is thus launching a Task Force to develop a pan-EuropeanIndustry Action Plan for the European Union’.

A new task force launched in December 2017

Building upon a sound evidence base regarding the factors shaping industrial transformations and examples of innovative industrial practices, the EPC Task Force will provide a platform for multi-stakeholder discussions in Brussels and member states, which will feed into ongoing debates at EU level. The findings of the project will also be integrated into a final publication – released in the autumn of 2019 – setting out concrete recommendations for the newly elected European Commission to drive this agenda forward.

Building on past activities, namely the 2014 Task Force on ‘A New Industrial Policy for Europe’ and the findings and recommendations published in the 2014 Issue Paper “Towards a New Industrial Policy for Europe”, the EPC will bring together a wide-range of stakeholders in a constructive discussion about the future of Europe’s industry. The EPC aims to identify the transformations that are required for a modernised and sustainable European economy and propose a revamped strategy for the European Industry.

Through country seminars organised across Europe regions and workshops held in Brussels, the EPC will seek to review member states’ perspectives on industrial policies and identify possible areas for EU action. These activities will look at how existing EU regulatory and financial tools could help implement the common strategy for Europe’s industrial transformation. The Task Force will pay special attention to the role of the single market, investments, trade, competition policy, taxation, R&D and innovation, education and the skills agenda, as well as digital instruments.

At the end of the project, the EPC will present the Action Plan in several EU member states as well as to senior EU and national policymakers at a high-level event in Brussels. The Action Plan will form a part of a final publication that comprises the main findings of the project and proposes concrete policy recommendations for action at EU and member state level.

The task force on “An Industry Action Plan for the European Union” forms part of the EPC’s Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme, which is coordinated by Annika Hedberg, Senior Policy Analyst..

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