Clusters are the backbone of Europe's industry

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EESC Vice-President Gonçalo Lobo Xavier at the European Industry Day

Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, Vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee and Adviser to the Board of the Portuguese Association of Metallurgical, Mechanical Engineering and Similar Industries, said that European Industry Day is an important achievement for Europe's industry. It shows that Industry and industrial policy is at the centre of the European institutions' attention, including the European Commission. It also plays an important role in showing Europeans what the EU does and can do to boost Europe's industry and secure jobs in Europe.

Speaking in the panel on Clusters and partnerships for stronger EU value chains, Mr Lobo Xavier was very pleased with previous speakers' presentations of different clusters already working successfully in various parts of Europe.

"I believe that clusters are the backbone of industry, and today's examples show how successful industry can be when R&D, technologies, workers' skills and markets are linked together. For SMEs and smaller companies, it is particularly vital to position themselves at the core of an international value chain, and clusters provide opportunities for SMEs to play an innovative role which in the end is a win for the entire industry", said Mr Lobo Xavier.

In the EESC's view, innovation is key. European industry can only be competitive if it produces better products. It is not Europe's destiny to be cheaper, but better. Therefore it is important to support innovation.

"SMEs need the boost of big companies; the secret to having a successful industry is to harness the best that each player has to offer", Mr Lobo Xavier concluded.