Charting EU's Course: Highlights from Orgalim's Spring Reception

17 April 2024

Last night, we gathered friends, industry leaders and policymakers at our spring event in Brussels. Despite the decidedly un-springlike weather, attendees flooded in, eager to catch up with colleagues and hear from leading EU voices.

We met at a pivotal moment in Europea...

We met at a pivotal moment in European politics as the mandate of the current EU Commission and Parliament draws to a close and another is yet to begin. This was on our Director General Malte Lohan’s mind as he kicked off the evening by asking keynote speaker EVP Margrethe Vestager for her insights on the developments of the past four years.

EVP Vestager highlighted the lessons learned, emphasising Europe's resilience and the manufacturing industry's commitment. She reiterated the EU’s firm support to industry, stressing that, “We don’t need a new industrial strategy because we already have one: it’s our twin digital and green transition.” She continued to praise the industry’s technological capabilities and their importance for competitiveness, rather than solely relying on subsidies, “The technological shift to net-zero is what drives our competitiveness.”

  The technological shift to Net-zero is what drives our competitiveness. 

EVP Margrethe Vestager

However, she noted that implementation can present significant challenges, before concluding on a positive note with a firm belief in the industry's pivotal role, "I rely on the industry to make this happen."

Discussing implementation, we invited attendees to participate in an online poll, gauging their confidence in the EU's ability to fulfil the six fundamental priorities outlined in our policy agenda. The results revealed a spectrum of sentiments, ranging from robust confidence levels in areas like ‘Recommit to the Single Market’ (with nearly 60% expressing confidence or strong confidence), to notable scepticism regarding ‘Decreasing the regulatory burden’ or ‘Regaining global leadership in research and innovation’ (with 55% and 63% expressing lack of confidence or only partial confidence, respectively).

These same topics were addressed in a panel with MEP Svenja Hahn (Renew, DE), MEP Ilan de Basso (S&D, SE) and Orgalim President Javier Ormazabal, moderated by our Policy Director Daniel Wennick.

Our panel had mixed views regarding t...

Our panel had mixed views regarding the EU's ability to achieve its priorities. When questioned about her confidence in the EU making digital legislation work for manufacturing industries in the next five years, MEP Hahn voiced reservations, contrasting with MEP de Basso's assurance in its effectiveness. When discussing trade barriers, Ormazabal advocated for their removal to diversify supply chains, a sentiment echoed by MEP Hahn, who highlighted the need for improvement in addressing both internal and external barriers. Both remained hopeful for progress in the next mandate. 

Additionally, Ormazabal emphasised the importance of competitive energy prices for maintaining Europe's competitiveness and sustainability in manufacturing. The conversation finally moved to the significance of upskilling and reskilling for the EU's future, with MEP de Basso underlining their role in fostering competitiveness. 

As the panel wrapped up, guests returned to enjoy refreshments and engaged in further discussions, reflecting on the forthcoming challenges and opportunities. 

Thank you to all attendees for contributing to the event's success, and a special thanks to our guest speakers for their insights. 

Visit our Flickr album for a selection of pictures of the event. 

Orgalim Reception 16 Apr