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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 26.05.2020, 10:12

European industrial strategy: new message for the states

Eugene Eteris, Turiba University, 12.03.2020.Print version
In March 2019, the European Council called for a comprehensive and long-term strategy for the member states concerning industrial policies with an integrated approach for a deeper and stronger single market. The new “EU’s industrial path” is part of the Commission’s political guidelines for 2024 and includes the European “green deal” and the digital agenda. The Baltic States have to be ready for a certain “home work”...

Industry plays a vital role in supporting Europe's economic growth and prosperity: the region’s industry is a global leader in many sectors representing 20% of the total value added of the EU and providing jobs for 35 million people in the member states.

However, modern global challenges require a radically new approach to industrialization through a “new industrial strategy” for the member states with three main priorities: a) maintaining industry's global competitiveness and a level playing field in Europe; b) making European states climate-neutral by 2050, and c) shaping Europe's digital future.

Future actions

The Strategy sets out the key drivers of the member states’ industrial transformation and proposes a comprehensive set of future actions, which are supposed to include:

- An “intellectual property action plan” in all EU states to uphold technological sovereignty, promote global level playing field, better combating intellectual property theft and adapt the legal framework to the green and digital transitions.

- The ongoing review of the EU competition rules, including the evaluation of merger control and fitness check of the “state-aid guidelines”, to ensure that these rules fit for purpose for an economy that is changing fast, increasingly digital and must be greener and more circular.

- As to a fair competition abroad (in addition to analysis of trade defence mechanisms), the Commission will present by mid-2020 a White Paper addressing distortive effects caused by foreign subsidies in the single market and tackle foreign access to EU public procurement and EU funding (with a legal draft in 2021). This EU’s action will go hand in hand with efforts to strengthen global rules on industrial subsidies in the World Trade Organization and actions to address the lack of reciprocal access for public procurement in third countries.

- Comprehensive measures to modernise and decarbonise energy-intensive industries, support sustainable and smart mobility industries, to promote energy efficiency, strengthen current carbon leakage tools and secure a sufficient and constant supply of low-carbon energy at competitive prices

- Enhancing the member states' strategic industrial autonomy by securing: a) supply of critical raw materials through an “Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials”, b) pharmaceutical industry based on a new EU Pharmaceutical Strategy, and c) by supporting the development of strategic digital infrastructures and key enabling technologies.

- Creating a “Clean Hydrogen Alliance” to accelerate the decarbonisation of industry and maintain industrial leadership, followed by Alliances on Low-Carbon Industries and on Industrial Clouds and Platforms and raw materials.

- Drafting additional legislation and guidance on green public procurement.

- Providing a renewed focus on innovation, investment and skills.


In addition to a comprehensive set of actions, both horizontal and for specific technologies, the Commission will systematically analyse the risks and needs of different industrial sectors in the states. In this analysis, the Commission will work closely with an Environment Industrial Forum organised in September 2020. It will consist of representatives from industry, including SMEs, big companies, social partners, researchers, member states’ representatives, etc.

Besides, the Commission's annual Industry Days will continue to bring all players together.

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New strategy for SMEs

SMEs play a key role in the member states’ industrial development: they are providing two out of three jobs, and are central to the success of the new EU’s industrial approach.

The Strategy aims to help SMEs to lead the twin transitions, which also means securing access to the right skills. To build SMEs' capacity for these transitions, the Commission will upgrade the European Enterprise Network with dedicated sustainability advisors. It will also expand Digital Innovation Hubs across all European regions to empower SMEs to integrate digital innovations and open up possibilities for volunteering and training on digital technologies.

To make it easier for SMEs to operate in the European single market, the Commission proposes actions to remove regulatory and practical obstacles to doing business or scaling up. Among them, the Commission is stepping up its efforts to ensure prompt payment, in particular through a new virtual Observatory, as well as through alternative dispute resolution.

To make it more accessible for SMEs to go public in Europe, the Commission will also support an SME Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) Fund under the InvestEU SME window.

It will also empower female entrepreneurship by stimulating investment in women-led companies and funds.

Furthermore, the Commission invites the states to ensure one-stop shop assistance to companies with the objective to make the EU states the best place to start a business and grow; Commission and the states will work on an EU’s “Start-up Nations Standard” to share and adopt best practices to accelerate growth of high-tech SMEs and start-ups. To ensure political commitment for these measures, a high-level EU SME Envoy will guarantee close partnership and coordination with EU states through national SME envoys, as well as with regional and local authorities.

More in the following web-links

=Factsheet: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

= Factsheet: Unleashing the full potential of European SMEs

= Factsheet: A single market that delivers for businesses and consumers

= A New Industrial Strategy for Europe, and

 = An SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe.



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