The EESC welcomes the Communication on Industrial Policy as a flagship in the Europe 2020 Strategy. It strongly endorses the holistic approach and an enhanced interlinking of EU policies as well as a deepened coordination towards industry between the EU and the Member States.
Streamlining internal planning and coordination within the EU institutions as well as focusing on a closer relationship between the EU and the Member States places improvement of governance at the centre of future industrial policy. Member States should improve coordination among themselves. Also regions and metropolitan areas should take ownership. In brief, vertical as well as horizontal connections across Europe should be intensified in order to keep pace with other continents.
The EESC calls on the Council and the Commission to draw up a list of priorities and timeframes on the basis of the Communication and the corresponding Council Conclusions.
The EESC highlights the significance of annual Commission reports concerning national industrial policies which should be openly discussed to improve coordination and promote best practices and to add to a European level playing field.
The EESC highlights the following priorities:
· the need for smart regulation, regulatory stability, adequate assessments and ex-post evaluations;
· access to finance at EU level: FP7/FP8, CIP, EIB and EIF, notably for SMEs;
· the Innovation Union should be very closely connected with industrial policy, especially in the area of key enabling technologies and energy-intensive industries;
· coordination within and between knowledge chains – research centres, universities, companies – should be promoted;
· a European patent is a test for the credibility of industrial policy;
· employees should be involved and participate;
· schooling and training at all levels are needed, alongside the promotion of entrepreneurship, to ensure high-quality and stable employment with appropriate and sustainable wages; best practices should be communicated;
· global developments require an active trade policy and effective market surveillance, they call unequivocally for one European voice in order to attain a global playing field;
· a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy in Europe should imply that the EU requires the same standards to be respected by its trade partners;
· access to raw materials and to diversified sources of energy should be safeguarded.
On 4 May 2011, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the European Commission's Communication on industrial policy, one of the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The adoption of the opinion is subject to several follow-up actions. As part of these follow-up actions, a one-and-a-half day round table on industrial policy was organised in Warsaw (entitled "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era - Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage") on 27-28 June 2011 at the Representation of the European Commission in Poland to collect input from relevant Polish industrial policy stakeholders in order to evaluate grassroots engagement in the reform process. The round table was structured in three blocks, with institutions, social partners and other stakeholders. Each of the three blocks was subdivided into a series of interviews between a three-member EESC delegation – rapporteur, co‑rapporteur and chairman of the relevant study group – and one or more stakeholders (see programme attached). Questions were sent beforehand to the participants – along with the Commission Communication and the EESC opinion – to provide them with guidelines on the issues to be tackled during the meeting. However, freedom was given to each organisation to refer to industrial policy as it perceives it. You will find the programme of this event below. Pictures of this event can be seen here. Below this is also a summary report of the outcomes of the discussions and must not be seen as the minutes of the meetings.
The round table in Poland was followed by a similar event in Madrid on 20-21 October.