European industry is everywhere in our daily life: from the houses we build, the furniture we buy, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the healthcare we receive, the energy and means of transport we use to the objects and products ever-present in our lives.
With its skilled workforce and its global reputation for quality and sustainability, our industry is vital for Europe and its prosperity. Today, 52 million people and their families throughout Europe benefit directly and indirectly from employment in industrial sectors. Our supply chains, made up of hundreds of thousands of innovative SMEs and larger suppliers, are exporting European industrial excellence all over the world.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, millions of manufacturing jobs were lost in Europe, each time bring-ing dramatic human and social consequences. Europe is still below employment levels seen before the crisis1 and jobs remain vulnerable to worrying international trends, including increasing protectionism.
The European Union now needs an ambitious industrial strategy to help compete with other global regions – such as China, India and the USA – that have already put industry at the very top of their political agenda.
Therefore, the Industry4Europe coalition has heartfully welcomed the Conclusions2 of the European Council of March 2019 in which the Heads of State and Government have invited the European Com-mission to “present, by the end of 2019, a long-term vision for the EU’s industrial future, with concrete measures to implement it”, addressing “the challenges European industry faces and touching upon all relevant policy areas”.
In July 2019, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated in her Political Guidelines 3 of the next European Commission 2019-2024: “I will put forward my plan for a future-ready economy, our new industrial strategy”. More recently, she confirmed the preparation by the Commission of a “comprehensive long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future” that shall “cover all aspects that affect the industry and its competitiveness, from investment and public procurement to trade, skills, innovation and supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
This Joint Paper is the outcome of months of discussions and consensus-building between a wide range of industrial sectors, all willing to contribute to the preparation of this much-awaited “comprehensive long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future”.
At a key time where the EU is discussing the next Multiannual Financial Framework, we are ready, more than ever, to step up our cooperation with the European institutions to discuss and implement an ambitious EU industrial strategy that will help Europe remain a hub for a leading, smart, innovative and sustainable industry, that provides quality jobs and benefits with all Europeans and future generations.
Business-Friendly Policy environment
We, the undersigned Industry Associations remind that industry is the backbone of a sustainable economy providing goods and services we use in everyday life. A sustainable competitive industry is a foundation for smart, innovative growth in Europe providing jobs and welfare for EU citizens.
We are calling for an impactful EU industrial strategy which aims at creating dedicated support for entrepreneurship including start-ups and SMEs and ensuring the benefits of a sustainable economy can be spread to all.
We highlight that the EU industry requires a global and EU competitive level playing field and a stable integrated, predictable, coherent and proportional legislation to attract investment and provide business with legal certainty.
We are convinced a medium to long-term industrial strategy is vital for ensuring policies on sustainable access to resources and energy at a competitive price. Specifically, balanced climate, energy and raw materials policies, informed by European industrial needs and objectives, are essential for competitiveness, sustainable growth and employment, supporting innovation and investment by industries. A strong vision of how this can be achieved is essential to foster new European support for jobs.
When it comes to a business-friendly policy environment, a long-term EU industrial strategy should have the following elements as cornerstones:
• Above all, a political commitment to foster a strong industrial base in Europe, including A Vice-President in charge of industry and other relevant portfolios reporting annually to European Council and European Parliament, a governance structure5 in place ensuring permanently informed decision making and smart indicators6 monitoring the effectiveness of policy measures.
• Stable, predictable and coherent legislation the EU Institutions need to ensure that policies in different portfolios are coherent and in line with overarching EU objectives but also strive for coherence between EU and national implementation of industrial policies. A balance between political emergency and ‘time-to-consider’ stakeholders’ views should also be maintained.
• Better regulations is crucial to pursue the better regulation agenda to reduce red tape and improve effectiveness and transparency, as well as to ensure the implementation of existing legislation, which will provide business certainty and attract EU and foreign investment. New legislation should only be created where necessary and legislators should undertake objective and evidence-based ex-ante and ex-post policy impact assessments. That is why we welcome Commission President von der Leyen’s “one in, one out” principle commitment in her working methods. To increase transparency, these impact assessments should be made public. Furthermore, it is needed to reinforce the link between better regulation and harmonised standards. SMEs and start-ups should also be considered when designing EU and national policies.
• Accompanying the digital transformations of industry agile governance culture is needed to facilitate and support Research & Innovation eco-systems for IT, academia and the industry, and allow to develop market-driven Research & Innovation programmes. Also needed is an appropriate regulatory framework to ensure better data quality and data management, address challenges around intellectual property rights and cybersecurity, establish who is responsible – and liable – for data ownership, and avoid abuse by monopolies, thus, ensuring a level playing field.