It is a strange moment we find ourselves in. We are all adapting to a “new normal” in line with the ever-evolving guidelines on combatting coronavirus, without a clear perspective on when and how we will return to something resembling normality. Perhaps the virtual EU Summit and G20 leaders meeting of today will shed some light. In an era when we tend to be overloaded with information, it is little wonder we are unsettled to find ourselves in a situation with so many unknowns. But one thing we do know for sure: while we may be advised to physically keep our distance, the current situation starkly underlines the case for closer political collaboration across Europe in combating this crisis is overwhelming. Short term, stronger focus on maintaining supply chains and industrial production must be a priority as Europe tackles the pandemic and works to mitigate its socio-economic consequences.
While it can be easy to forget when one topic is dominating the headlines, the transformational challenges facing the EU have not disappeared – from climate change, to demographics, to an increasingly unpredictable global landscape. It has been encouraging to see the ambition of President von der Leyen and her team to address these. Taking stock of the ‘first 100 days’, the Commission can already look back on an impressive list of proposals. In the last six weeks alone, we have seen a Climate Law, a comprehensive Digital Package, a Circular Economy Action Plan, not to mention a new Industrial Strategy and measures to strengthen the Single Market. We in Orgalim have been actively engaging with policymakers to ensure that across the board, the emerging framework unlocks the potential of industrial innovation to catalyse sustainable growth and prosperity and to deliver on the objectives that matter most to EU citizens.
This will become all the more important as we move from planning to real-world implementation, at a time when Europe’s economy will be going through one of the toughest periods in recent memory. Europe must now match ambition with well-calibrated action, and ensure that decisions taken over the months ahead reflect a new, post-corona reality. Here it is not only the Commission but all stakeholders across policy, economy and society that will have to step up to the plate and work together to make it happen. Needless to say, this will take a lot longer than 100 days. But if we can maintain the momentum of the Commission’s start phase, channelled towards the right priorities, we have an unmissable opportunity to show Europe’s citizens what the EU is capable of. Shaping this new agenda for Europe is now our top priority, and we look forward to working closely with our members and partners from industry and policy at this critical time.