The upcoming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union asked the EESC to prepare an opinion on how the industrial ecosystems identified by the Commission will contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy and the well-being of its citizens.
Adopting a comprehensive approach to industrial policy in the EU – improving business environment and support for the competitiveness of the European industry (exploratory opinion at the request of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council) - Related Opinions
The Communication is intended to update the previous Communication (COM (2020) 102 final) adopted on 10 March 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis, taking into account the latest developments related in particular to the pandemic.
The European Union and its Member States must stand united to protect their sovereignty. The EESC firmly believes that if Europe is to maintain its leading role in the world, it needs a strong, competitive industrial base. The EESC recognises the crucial importance of shifting to a carbon-neutral economy and of reversing the current curve of biodiversity collapse. Without a green industrial strategy as a cornerstone of the Green Deal, the EU will never succeed in reaching a carbon-neutral economy within one generation. The new industrial strategy must ensure the right balance between supporting European businesses, respecting our 2050 climate neutrality objective and providing consumers with incentives to shift consumption to sustainable goods and services .
This own-initiative opinion refers to what a comprehensive approach to industrial policy should include, in order to reposition European production of goods and services in the global context, on the basis of an eco-social open market model that responds to the tradition and the future of the EU.
The EESC appreciates the coherent and ambitious strategic vision in industrial policy being displayed in the Communication and its focus on four key issues: (1) technologies and platforms; (2) standards and reference architectures; (3) geographic cohesion, embodied in a network of regional Innovation Hubs; (4) skills at all levels.
The EESC fully backs the objective of switching to a greener, resource-efficient and circular economy. It is happy to see that the Commission has come forward with a broader set of proposals covering all the stages of the product lifecycle compared to the previous circular economy package; however, it raises concern over the lower level of ambition, which is likely to lead to lower economic and environmental benefits.
The EESC welcomes the communication and concludes that the challenges facing European industries are not abating, and without a competitive industrial base, Europe will not secure growth and more jobs. In its opinion the EESC particularly recommends to pay more attention to the role of the services and corresponding policies, in particular knowledge based services, to take measures to reduce energy prices and to encourage innovation, EU competition and state aid policies.