A coherent Industrial Policy requires far better governance – the EESC position
The EESC welcomes very much the focused attention to Europe's industry, as expressed in the Commission's update on Industrial policy of October 2012.
The present opinion insists on a change of mind-set in the Member States (MS) and the EU Council. It stresses the need of coherent decision-making on a wide variety of issues, and effective governance at EU level. Only then industrial policy can become a building block of an EU Growth Initiative of which there is still little effective action.
Despite shrinking budgets, the current depressed economy asks for a visible focus on a vibrant industry in Europe and, in a number of countries, a revitalised industrial sector. The right balance must be found between fiscal consolidation, national reform programmes and industrial policy in view of investments, job creation and boosting confidence.
The ambitious goal of 20% manufacturing industry by 2020 requires extensive investments and policy adjustments. The EESC urges the Commission, the Council, and the EP to intensify policies and initiatives to meet this huge challenge, which will also strengthen Europe's position in global dynamics as competitor and partner.
Diversity is a very valuable asset, but fragmentation is damaging. In line with the Europe 2020 strategy the EU needs an optimal convergence of the 28 national and EU industrial policies. EU industrial policy should be a process of sharing EU's and national visions and competences, in which, together with other stakeholders, business circles and trade unions must be full partners. Given substantial differences among MS in economic output, all of them should benefit from good practices and supporting views and approaches. EU and MS should encourage their self-reliant practices in industrial policy as well as networking among MS and regions.
In addition to a well-functioning Single market appropriate conditions in decisive areas as industrial innovation, skills, qualifications and education, access to finance, sustainable development, (business) services, administrative barriers, energy, and trade and external relations should be put in place in a coherent, transparent and visible EU framework.