EU industrial strategy: assessment and main orientations in strategic sectors

Edouard SIMON

Confrontations Europe

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This seminar took place with the following guestspeakers:
– Eliana GARCES TOLON, Deputy head of unit, senior economist, DG Entr, European Commission
– Nathalie ERRARD,
Senior Vice-president, Head of Europe and NATO affairs, Airbus Group
– Paulo VARIZ
, Industry Attaché, Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU

With the participation of Philippe HERZOG, founding president of Confrontations Europe

The issue for debate was:
EU industry returns a €365b surplus in manufactured products, generated by a few sectors including automotive, machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, aeronautics, space and creative industries, food…
Yet, since 2008, 3.5 million jobs have been lost in manufacturing, the EU’s productivity performance continues deteriorating compared to our competitors, and whereas the target of manufacturing in GDP was set to increase from 15.4% to 20% in 2020, it is declining…
Two recent Commission’s reports have identified a number of weaknesses: the lack of investment including in research and innovation, limited access to finance for SMEs in crisis-hit countries with high differentials of interest rates, weak integration of the internal market, higher energy prices than elsewhere, difficulties to access qualified labour and capital in affordable conditions.
Yet, considerable investment is needed to ensure EU industries can continue to compete with other regions in the world. These weaknesses are to be found in the five areas: innovation, skills, internal market, internationalisation, access to finance.
So far, this European industrial policy hasn’t been fully implemented, mainly because of Member States:
Based on these two reports, in its January Communication, the European Commission identifies first and foremost the need to complete the internal market and namely to integrate networks of information, energy, transport, space, telecommunication… which are suffering delays… Yet, is the current economic environment is not favourable for LT investment ? and will project bonds be enough to facilitate the financing of such infrastructure projects? This also include the industrial market for industrial products (how to streamline economic sanctions for non complying with harmonisation?) how to fully implement the services directive, which is key namely for business services, which are extremely important for EU competitiveness?
Only Germany has managed to increase employment in industry.
Thus, some countries have a high and improving competitiveness (Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark…), others have a stagnating or declining competitiveness (France, the UK, Italy…); they typically are experiencing deteriorating labour productivity and external competitiveness; others are starting from lower but improving (Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Poland, or Greece…).
At a time when the Europe 2020 strategy is being examined, which priorities for updating Europe 2020 strategy?
Report on European industrial competitiveness and report on Member States competitiveness, 2014

Please find the synthesis of this seminar above (PDF).

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