The industrial competitiveness ball is now in your court, member states!
Yesterday, the European Commission issued its contribution to the 2014 European Council debate on industrial policy - ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’. “I applaud this Communication which appears on first reading very comprehensive and balanced. It points to the future focus areas for investment, in particular advanced manufacturing technologies and the area of energy technologies - this seems largely logical to us” said Adrian Harris, Director General of Orgalime.
There now appears an opportunity to lay solid foundations for Europe to profit from the economic recovery and to focus on attracting manufacturing investment back to Europe. Politicians across Europe need to effectively acknowledge the core role that industry plays in the overall European economy and in generating much needed jobs. Heads of State and Government need to give industry a clear and credible signal that industry as a whole – and the manufacturing sector in particular - is welcome in the EU. They need to take measures both at EU institutional level and at national level to ensure that policymaking becomes joined up and coherent in order that the international competitiveness of Europe will now be at the core of all policy areas.
We are happy to read that regulatory stability and predictability are now factored into Commission thinking, something that has been notably absent over recent years and has created unnecessary burdens for industry. However, the focus on this could have been stronger.
For the engineering industry, it is also essential that the EU’s energy and climate framework to 2030, for which a Communication has also been published simultaneously should be supportive of our industry’s competitiveness. Added Harris “While we will analyse this Communication in detail, which lays down clear goals for greenhouse gas reductions and renewables, we believe that energy efficiency has emerged as the poor man in the house.” Indeed energy efficiency, which is very much in the focus of the International Energy Agency’s recent world energy outlook, is a policy area which Orgalime strongly supports.
The first signs of economic recovery at macroeconomic level in the EU are now apparent. This is good news after an exceptionally long period of economic downturn. However, if the recovery is really to take effect and the employment market to stabilise and grow, manufacturing investment must take off again. Can the European Council, based on these Communications and a coordinated and coherent policy approach, now deliver a solid path towards economic recovery of Europe?