On 13 September, the EU Commission published the communication "Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable Industry A renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy".
The new document emphasises that “Europe is the global leader in many industries, especially in high value added, low carbon and sophisticated products and services. This position has been built on a large Single Market with 500 million consumers, strong value chains, a skilled and talented workforce and a world class science base. However, major efforts are needed to adjust to the challenges and reap the vast opportunities of the new industrial age”. With this communication, the EU Commission aims at identifying solutions for strengthening the European industry's ability to continuously adapt and innovate while developing a low-carbon and more circular economy.
The main new elements of the EU Industrial Policy Strategy include:
- A comprehensive package to reinforce our industry's cybersecurity. It includes the creation of a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre to support the development of technology and industrial capabilities in cybersecurity, as well as an EU-wide certification scheme for products and services, recognised in all Member States (adopted on 13 September 2017).
- A proposal for a Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data that will enable data to circulate freely across borders, helping to modernise industry and create a truly common European data space (adopted on 13 September 2017).
- A new series of actions on Circular Economy, including a strategy on plastics and measures to improve the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into bio-based products and bio-energy (autumn 2017).
- A set of initiatives to modernise the Intellectual Property Framework, including a report on the functioning of the Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and a Communication on a balanced, clear and predictable European licensing framework for Standard Essential Patents (autumn 2017).
- An initiative to improve the functioning of public procurement in the EU, including a voluntary mechanism to provide clarity and guidance to authorities planning large infrastructure projects (autumn 2017).
- Extension of the Skills Agenda to new key industry sectors, such as construction, steel, paper, green technologies and renewable energies, manufacturing and maritime shipping (autumn 2017).
- A strategy on sustainable finance to better orient private capital flows to more sustainable investments (early 2018).
- Initiatives for a balanced and progressive trade policy and a European framework for the screening of foreign direct investments that may pose a threat to security or public order (adopted on 13 September 2017).
- A revised list of critical raw materials where the Commission will continue to help ensure the secure, sustainable and affordable supply for the EU manufacturing industry (adopted on 13 September 2017).
- New proposals for clean, competitive and connected mobility, including tightened CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans, an Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Action Plan to support the deployment of charging infrastructure, and actions to foster autonomous driving (autumn 2017).
Putting this holistic strategy into practice is a shared responsibility. Its success depends on the efforts and cooperation of the EU institutions, Member States, regions and most importantly on the active role of industry itself.
The Communication reports that EU companies are increasingly integrated in global supply chains, the transition towards a circular economy cannot be pursued in isolation. Given the strategic importance of raw materials for the EU manufacturing industry, the Commission is implementing a wide range of actions under the EU Raw Materials Initiative and will continue to help ensure their secure, sustainable and affordable supply. Certain raw materials are particularly critical as they are of a high economic importance and are associated with a high supply risk.
Copy of the Communication is available HERE