Orgalim joins EU Industry Days opening plenary

24 February 2021

Orgalim President Rada Rodriguez spoke yesterday in the opening plenary debate of EU Industry Days, sharing the perspective of Europe's technology industries on "Green = growth, or how European companies can champion green transition."

EU Industry Days is the European Commission’s flagship annual event on industry, and takes on additional importance this year, coming just a few weeks before the updated Industrial Strategy is due. It was opened by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President David Sassoli. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton led the plenary debate, asserting that "Europe's recovery provides us with huge opportunities to build a greener, more digital, more resilient economy."

Ms Rodriguez echoed Commissioner Breton's view that Europe is in a unique position to lead the green transformation and said that Europe's technology industries firmly support Europe's 2050 climate neutrality goals: "As our industries are enablers of the green transition in other sectors, when these sectors change, it generates new growth opportunities for Europe’s technology industries."

To achieve that ambition in what is a very tough competitive situation, she said the key challenge now is to scale up rapidly and reach economies of scale. The Covid crisis has contributed to a mood of wait and see, especially among SMEs, so that today there is a massive deployment gap when it comes to advanced manufacturing technologies, she pointed out. "We really need to focus to get to this tipping point where there is massive technology deployment by SMEs." To get there, she said, "SMEs especially need a very stable regulatory framework, that avoids putting too much burden on them and being too prescriptive." For example, when it comes to AI in industrial applications and machine learning, "we need to avoid putting a too tight legislative corset on these emerging technologies which need the time to mature."

  The key success factor to achieve the Green Deal and climate neutrality goals is ensuring Europe’s SMEs invest in technology 

Rada Rodriguez

Other speakers reinforced these key points. Pierre Gattaz, President of BusinessEurope described the updated Industrial Strategy as a "golden opportunity to accelerate the green and digital transition but also to rethink the whole strategy for Europe."  However he, too, warned that competition will be fierce and stressed that policy makers must avoid placing an excessive burden on companies.  "What we need is a true business-friendly environment in Europe where companies can take risks, bring innovative and competitive solutions to the market and get a return on their investments."

Wrapping up the discussion, Commissioner Breton thanked all the participants for the insightful and fruitful discussion and summarised his key takeaways. The Commission needs to accompany industry in its transformation through agile public-private cooperation and create the  right framework conditions, notably access to abundant and affordable decarbonised energy, he said. It also needs to ensure that legislation facilitates innovation and the creation of new markets, paying special attention to the needs of SMEs, and make smart use of different EU public financing programmes. Lastly, he noted the need to support the development mix and integration of small and new technologies, acknowledging especially the role of AI as an important tool.

The EU's updated Industrial Strategy is due out next month. Orgalim President Rada Rodriguez is participating in the Commission's Industrial Forum to advise on the Strategy and contribute to the coordination of the recovery efforts, representing Orgalim. Read our recent response to questions posed by the Commission to the Industrial Forum members here.

If you missed the debate, you can watch the whole session here.


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