MEP Bütikofer’s report on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability
Published: 2 August 2013
Policies & Issues: Industrial Policy
Orgalime very much welcomes this draft report and the commitment of the Rapporteur to support the Commission’s focus on the industrial policy agenda. This means nothing less than setting the agenda for overcoming the current crisis by creating a business friendly environment that attracts investments and creates jobs, especially for young people. The European engineering industry, which Orgalime represents as a whole, today already directly provides jobs for more than 10 million citizens in the real economy and therefore can contribute significantly to this goal, if Europe becomes more appealing for manufacturing investment. Indeed, Orgalime firmly believes that the recovery of Europe’s economy will depend to a considerable extent on the recovery of manufacturing which for every job created in the EU further leads to the creation of at least two jobs in the service sector.
Orgalime welcomes that the draft report on reindustrialising Europe supports the headline 20% of GDP overall industrial output target and is well aware that significant investment is needed to reach this target, as todays industrial share of the GDP lies at some 15.2% only. Indeed, Orgalime believes that this 20% target should become the core for policymakers. Without this focus, the achievement of the other EU’s 20/20/20 targets would be difficult and come as a Pyrrhic victory, costing the EU too much global market share and consequently employment.
The draft report rightly stresses the need for strategic engagement in key enabling technologies. However, clean production, advanced manufacturing, the investment in smart grids and energy efficiency as well as clean mobility, which are included in the Commission’s communication on industrial policy play an equally important role in the future of the European industry. Moreover these areas can create considerable employment in the short-term. Furthermore, as the competitiveness of European engineering companies is dependent on the value chains, Europe’s policymakers should not only concentrate on the upper end of the value chain but must ensure that the EU should remain attractive as a manufacturing location for all parts of the value chain. It is indeed those countries in Europe which have a very complete industrial infrastructure whose economy has proved to be most resilient and are performing best today.
We welcome that the Rapporteur acknowledges the central role that finance will play in the industrial turnaround. Nevertheless, besides the measures proposed in the draft report, it is equally important to take into account the significant contribution of companies and in particular SMEs in the area of innovation and therefore to support innovative SMEs. This should also include practical support along the research, development and innovation chain: for example the early involvement of SMEs in research, as achieved in the “Factories for the Future” initiative, is beginning to lead to a wide range of now market-ready products. Such schemes, generating significant leverage, should be better funded and access for SMEs should be facilitated.