As a key driver of productivity and innovation, industry has always been a cornerstone of economic prosperity in Europe. We can rely on a strong industrial base, but important efforts are needed by Member States, EU institutions and most importantly industry itself to maintain and reinforce Europe's industrial leadership in the age of globalisation, sustainability challenges and rapid technological change.
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- Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI)
- Comisión Consultiva de las Transformaciones Industriales (CCMI) - Related Opinions
Comisión Consultiva de las Transformaciones Industriales (CCMI) - Related Opinions
Despite several initiatives over the past years, the landscape of the European defence industry is characterised by insufficient levels and quality of investment in the development and procurement of future capabilities. Member States are not cooperating enough, with more than 80% of procurement and more than 90% of Research and Technology run on a national basis. A high degree of fragmentation remains, with 178 different weapon systems in Europe compared to 30 in the US. Too little coordination in defence planning leads to an inefficient use of taxpayers' money, unnecessary duplication and suboptimal deployability of defence forces. There are wide differences in the level of defence spending between Member States. Enhanced solidarity, including through the involvement of the EU budget, is needed to deliver common defence capabilities.
The European economy is increasingly based on creativity and innovation. Intellectual property rights (IPR) intensive industries in Europe account for 39% of the EU's GDP and 26% of its employment. The EESC considers that businesses must enjoy a series of conditions that facilitate innovation, investment and employment.
According to estimates from the UN and OECD, counterfeit products represent 5-7% (UN) or up to 2.5% (OECD) of world trade. The majority of counterfeit products in Europe are produced outside the EU, but production is also on the rise in Member States. The internet has considerably simplified and massively increased the scope for selling counterfeit products online while the risk of being prosecuted remains very low.
President Juncker stressed in his 2016 State of the Union Speech the need for a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. Taking greater responsibility for their security means that Europeans must invest in the development of key defence capabilities to be able to deter, respond and protect themselves against external threats. The European Union must demonstrate that it can act as a provider of hard as well as soft security, addressing calls for greater solidarity in security and defence. The Bratislava roadmap, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have also recently underlined this priority.
Banking and insurance are evolving. Insurance companies and banks are at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. The very nature of their activities lends itself to the intensive use of the new technologies. In a highly competitive framework marked by a keener pursuit of competitiveness, insurance companies and banks have become part of an ongoing drive for innovation.
The European Union is the world's biggest producer of beet sugar and the principal importer of raw cane sugar for refining. EU sugar policy today is supported by three pillars: production quotas, a sugar reference threshold and trade measures (border protection). Production quotas will cease to exist as of 1 October 2017, which means that one of these pillars will fall. Another pillar – border protection – is looking increasingly shaky.
The global counterfeit and pirated products industry accounts for up to 2.5 % of global trade, or the equivalent of US $461 billion.
This is equivalent to the GDP of Austria, or that of Ireland and the Czech Republic combined. Right holders, governments and the economy as a whole may suffer significant economic and social losses. A targeted analysis of the European Union shows that, in 2013, imports of counterfeit and pirated products accounted for up to 5 % of imports, or the equivalent of EUR 85 billion.
Europe has always played a key role in the innovation and development of personal care, body hygiene and beauty products. However its leading position has progressively been eroded in the process of global competition. While the innovative capacity of Europe’s specialised enterprises is very impressive, the production and commercialisation of European inventions have shifted to other parts of the world with serious economic and social consequences for Europe in terms of benefits, labour opportunities and incentives for research and development. To strengthen this particular branch of industry by appropriate strategies will lead to a major contribution to industrial reshoring and industrial development.
The EESC calls upon the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to work together to hold an interinstitutional conference as soon as possible on the role of public-private technology partnerships in European reindustrialisation, with a view to the next R&I Framework Programme after 2020.