"The challenges for Europe's industry are extraordinary, and no single Member State can meet them alone. But the opportunities are also enormous. We have to grab them to keep our lead in the many sectors where we have it and get it back where we have almost lost it to competitors".
This path, however, will only be successful if all 28 Member States play together, not solo. Therefore I call on the Commission and the Member States to blend the many existing policies into a single longer-term strategy and commit our countries to coherent action in order to support industry clusters across national borders", said Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC vice-president, at the European Industry Day.
In its opinion Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable industry, adopted on 15 February, the EESC also calls for the completion of the single market, including the capital market. It is particularly necessary to enhance standardisation and self-regulation.
"The low-carbon and circular economy offers many business opportunities. In order to grab them, we need a common framework and a longer-term strategy, as well as Member States' commitment to coherent action. Furthermore, our enterprises need a level playing field. Therefore the Commission must actively tackle unfair trade practices" said opinion rapporteur Bojidar Danev.
Since the structure of the labour market will change dramatically, the EESC wants proper assessments to avoid any potential negative impact on employees. Work-based learning solutions must be applied more widely to enable all workers to upgrade their skills and digital abilities.
"People must be at the core of change", stressed opinion co-rapporteur Monica Sitarová Hrušecká. "The opportunities afforded by new technologies must not only be harnessed to create new products, but also to improve working conditions for staff". (sma)
In the photo: Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC vice-president