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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 20.08.2019, 19:28

Modern EU industrial policy: EU’s assistance to the Baltics States growth

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 22.02.2019.Print version
The future of Europe's industry depends on the member states’ ability to continuously adapt and innovate by investing in new technologies and embracing changes brought on by increased digitisation and transitions to low-carbon and to circular economy. The EU’s innovative measures to activate member states’ industrial development need to be assessed carefully by Baltic States’ decision-makers.

European industrial development, both in general term and in several sectors has been retaining strong and often leading positions in the global markets. Industry accounts for two thirds of the EU's exports and provides jobs for 32 mln people, with 1.5 mln of these jobs created since 2013. But to maintain and reinforce its competitive advantage, an important modernisation effort is required.


Industrial growth has been in the center of the Juncker Commission’s agenda since 2014 and almost all Commission’s policies have been geared to empower industrial growth, to create jobs, boost European competitiveness, foster investment and innovation in clean and digital technologies, while defending European regions and workers affected by industrial change.


On Commission’s political guidelines see more in:

Particular attention to new industrial policy’s guidelines has been revealed in the Commission’s state-of-the Union address in September 2017.


The 2017-State-of-the Union in:

Industrial innovation

New production technologies are changing Europe's industrial landscape and play an increasingly important role in determining the ability of European business to compete globally. They will create jobs through a number of channels, and technologies delivering higher productivity can benefit the wider economy. They may also have a deeper impact on the nature and availability of work.


The future of Europe's industry will depend on the member states’ ability to continuously adapt and innovate by investing in new technologies and embracing changes brought on by increased digitisation and the transition to low-carbon and circular economy. At the same time, the global competition is becoming stronger; besides, the benefits of globalisation and technological progress are unevenly spread across countries.


Commission’s political guidelines have shown the importance of a strong and high performing industries for the future of European economy in general and those of the member states. Hence, the creation of jobs and growth through innovation and investment has attracted attention both in the EU industrial policies and in the member states.


For example, the EU’s efforts towards more concise capital markets union have helped to mobilize resources to boost economic recovery; the EU’s support for innovation helps industry and in particular SMEs to gain strength.

European industrial development is at the forefront of the global actions towards low-carbon and circular economy through its circular economy, clean energy and low carbon economy initiatives. Important decisions have been already adopted by the EU institutions: for example on circular economy package, there is a valuable Commission’s web-site:;

As to the “clean energy” initiatives, the SMEs can get inspiration from the Commission’s new consumer-oriented rules in:

Commission’s press release on low-carbon economy suggests innovative approaches to SMEs in:


There are several other EU initiatives:

- on key enabling technologies which would help member states’ industries compete globally; KETs inspire shift to a greener economy, modernising member states’ industrial base, and drive the development of entirely new industries. The KETS are made a key element of European industrial policy.

See more on KETS in:; and


Digital single market and “new skills”

The EU data economy is estimated at €272 billion with the annual growth of 5.6%; the sector could employ 7.4 mln” people by 2020. Data can be used to improve almost every aspect of daily life, from business analysis to weather forecasting, from new era in medicine enabling personalised care, to safer roads and fewer traffic jams. The EU institutions have been constantly emphasizing the role of free flow of data among the member states.


On the creation of a properly functioning data economy in the member states, see Commission press release at: 


New initiative along the digital single market, as well as on the accompanying “digitisation of industry”, also include new European proposals concerning the EU-5G action plan; both would help businesses in the states to take advantage of new developments.


More on the EU digital agenda strategy can be seen in:; and on the “digitisation of industry”, there is a comprehensive Commission’s website:


Generally, the European single market strategy makes it possible for industrial sectors and SMEs to get access to a market of several hundred mln consumers in the EU states and use connections in value chains free from customs or technical barriers. However, about 40% of European employers acknowledged that they could not find people with the right skills to grow and innovate. Finally, too few people have the entrepreneurial mindset and competences to start their own business and keep adapting to evolving requirements of the labour market.


The new European initiative on “new skills” (the actions approved during 2016-17) includes about ten actions to be taken by the member states in the coming years.


The EU “new skills” initiative for the Baltic States is composed of the following actions:

- A European/states’ skills guarantee to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and progress towards an upper secondary qualification.

- A review of the European qualifications framework for a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of all available skills in the European labour market.

- The "digital skills and jobs coalition" bringing together EU and states’ education, employment and industry authorities to develop a large European “digital talent pool” and ensure that individuals and the labour force in European states are equipped with adequate digital skills.

- Sectoral cooperation on skills, aimed to improve skills intelligence and address skills shortages in specific economic sectors.

-A "Skills profile tool for third country nationals" to support early identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.

- A revision of the Europass framework, offering people better and easier-to-use tools to present their skills and get useful real-time information on skills needs and trends which can help with career and learning choices.

- Activating Vocational Education and Training (VET) by enhancing opportunities for VET learners to undertake a work based learning experience and promoting greater VET’s visibility of good labour market outcomes.

- Recommendation for the states on key competences to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century with a special focus on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills. 

- the member states’ graduate tracking to improve information on how graduates progress in the labour market.

- Exchange best practices on effective ways to address brain drain. 

More on the new skills in:

Turning research into innovative SMES

The renewed EU industrial policy strategy brings together all EU and the states’ horizontal and sector-specific initiatives into a comprehensive industrial strategy. Thus, the strategy clarifies the tasks ahead for all actors in the states involved. For a better coordination, the EU created annual Industry Days, the first took place in February 2017, as well as a High Level Industrial Roundtable to allow in particular industry and civil society to steer industrial policy actions in the future. As the Commission authorities postulate, “by embracing technological change, converting research investments into innovative business ideas, and continuing to pioneer the low-carbon and circular economy” the member states can pave the way for a smart, innovative and sustainable industrial sectors. Besides, many industrial sectors in the states are presently at a turning point: hence, the Baltic States industrial policy shall be aimed at empowering continued sustainable growth.


Main elements of the new EU industrial policy strategy include:

  • A comprehensive package to reinforce industry's cybersecurity: the efforts include the creation of a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre to support the development of technology and industrial capabilities in cybersecurity, as well as an EU-wide certification scheme for products and services, recognised in all EU states (adopted in 2017).
  • A proposal for a regulation on the free flow of non-personal data to enable data circulates freely across borders, helping to modernise industry and create a truly common European data space.
  • A series of actions on “circular economy”, including a strategy on plastics and measures to improve the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into bio-based products and bio-energy.
  • Initiatives to modernise the Intellectual Property Framework, including a Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and providing a balanced, clear and predictable European licensing framework for Standard Essential Patents.
  • Improving public procurement functioning of the states, including a voluntary mechanism to provide clarity and guidance to authorities planning large infrastructure projects.
  • Extension of the “skills agenda” to new key industry sectors, such as construction, steel, paper, green technologies and renewable energies, manufacturing and maritime shipping.  
  • A strategy on sustainable finance to better orient private capital flows to more sustainable investments.
  • Initiatives for a balanced and progressive trade policy and a European framework for the screening of foreign direct investments, FDIs that may pose a threat to security.

On trade policy see Commission press release in:

On FDI see:

  • Revision of the list of critical raw materials to ensure a secure, sustainable and affordable supply for the member states’ manufacturing sectors.
  • Proposals for clean, competitive and connected mobility, including reduction of CO2 emissions for cars and vans, an “alternative fuels infrastructure action plan” to support the deployment of battery’s charging infrastructure, as well as some actions to foster autonomous driving.


These industrial policy actions have formed a shared responsibility between the EU institutions and the member states; through industrial policy as such is within the EU’s “supporting and supplementing competence”.

No doubt, the success of new industrial policy depends on exploring a new vision and closer cooperation among all EU institutions, member states’ authorities, as well as regional and business community.

Additional information on industrial policy’s actions is in the following web-links:

- State of the Union 2017 web page;

- The 10 political priorities of the European Commission;

 - Factsheet "A holistic strategy and a strong partnership in a new industrial age";

- Factsheet "Making Europe's industry stronger: Key Commission initiatives";

- Stockshots;

- A Renewed Industrial Policy Strategy for Europe;

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