An industrial strategy to deliver a prosperous and sustainable future for Europe
10 March 2020
Representing the technology sectors driving innovation and growth across Europe, Orgalim is convinced that the future wellbeing and prosperity of European society is inextricably linked to the future of European industry. With the publication of ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’, the European Commission has today set out its roadmap for a framework to strengthen European industry’s competitiveness while maximising its contribution to broader societal objectives.
“We are happy to see this sharper focus on industrial strategy at the highest political levels,” comments Malte Lohan, Orgalim Director General. “The strategy’s twin priorities of green transition and digital transformation are absolutely the right ones, as industry has a vital role to play in unlocking the benefits of both for Europe as a whole.”
In that context, we have welcomed the Commission’s Digital Package that was released 19 February; we are fully behind the action plan proposed today for implementation and enforcement of Single Market rules (see our statement here); and we support the objectives of the circular economy and the forthcoming Circular Economy Action Plan to be announced later this week.
Regarding the policies that will support an industrial strategy, Orgalim believes it is important to focus on a functioning open market based on free and fair competition, with a level playing field both across Member States and for companies of different sizes. However, we also recognise that Europe must carve out its future position in a more aggressive global competitive environment where the rules-based multilateral order is increasingly being challenged. This calls for a more strategic approach towards unlocking the potential of Europe’s future-oriented industries. For the sectors Orgalim represents, it is important that a modern European industrial strategy builds on the power of fair markets, and on the ingenuity and competitiveness of its companies.
The first goal of industrial policy must therefore be to encourage healthy competition. This should be underpinned by a future-proof framework comprising a stable and consistent regulatory framework, favourable investment conditions, top-class infrastructures, excellent education systems and high-performing R&I networks. A joined-up approach will be key, one that addresses the full spectrum of relevant policies: from strengthening the Internal Market and investing in innovation, to unlocking the potential of the Green Deal, to competition policy and procurement.
A core priority must be to reinforce and further develop Europe’s technology leadership, while also accepting the reality of continued mutual technology dependency between Europe and other major economies. Far from being mutually exclusive, these considerations should in fact be understood as mutually reinforcing. If European technologies can continue to set the global standard in certain areas, providing a clear value proposition in other markets, Europe’s technological leadership will also be safeguarded. In turn, for our products and services to be attractive to non-EU markets, our companies need continued access to cutting-edge innovation, whether developed in the EU or abroad.
Orgalim supports the continued focus on industrial ecosystems. We look forward to continuing our work with the Commission and Member States to further shape the governance and focus of such ecosystems. With regards to the ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs)’, we support these exceptions to the state aid rules, as long as they remain just that – exceptions. Finally, we strongly welcome the creation of an Industrial Forum. Orgalim looks forward to being actively involved in this Forum, building on our engagement and support in the Industry 2030 High Level Industrial Roundtable as well as the Strategic Forum for Important Projects of Common European Interest.
“Through a coordinated approach and collaboration between all stakeholders, the EU’s industrial strategy can achieve much more than sharpening our competitive edge globally,” concludes Malte Lohan. “It can unlock the power of industrial innovation to create a prosperous, sustainable and safe Europe for all citizens.”
Orgalim’s strategic priorities for a future EU industrial strategy are set out in ‘2030: an industry vision for a renewed Europe’ as well as in our follow-up paper published on 24 March. For more information on Orgalim’s work in this area, please contact Malte Lohan, Director General.