Brussels – February 28, 2017
CONEBI attended the first-ever EU Industry Day organised by the European Commission at the Charlemagne building in Brussels to discuss the state of the art of the European Industry and its future challenges with the relevant stakeholders.
The EU Industry is undergoing a rapid change, which will have a lasting impact at several levels. Technological developments and an evolving global context are generating new products and services, and new types of business models for delivering them. The challenge of the European Commission is to provide the appropriate framework in which the Industry can flourish focusing on flexibility, sustainability and innovation.
The European Commission is committed to take strong actions to address key challenges, among which the issues of access to finance and digitalisation, skills development and supportive regulations. Moreover, in terms of funding opportunities, the European Union mobilises more than 740 billion Euros in investments through several programmes:
Removing obstacles to investments, providing visibility and technical assistance to projects. The Commission states that the plan is deploying investments for more than 315 billion Euro over three years.
The EU research and innovation programme with nearly 80 billion Euros of funding available from 2014 to 2020 to bring ideas from the lab to the market.
The EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises will run until 2020 with a budget of over 2 billion Euros.
European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
ESIF is worth over 350 billion Euros and composed by several specific funds like the European regional development fund, the European social fund and the Cohesion fund.
Nevertheless, in December 2016 EU Member States and the European Parliament clearly stated their full support for a strong European Industrial strategy – which at the moment is missing – via the European Council conclusions, calling to strengthen the EU’s Industrial base. For this reason, CONEBI and 124 other EU Industrial associations have written a Joint Declaration in February, asking the European Commission to work together on a concrete action plan that would allow the EU Industry to compete at the same level with the “Made in India”, “China 2025” and “America First” strategies.
The Joint declaration recites: ‘Europe has been at the forefront of industrial revolutions and technological innovations. The industry directly employs over 34 million people across all Member States, in supply chains comprising hundreds of thousands of SMEs and larger suppliers. It also indirectly accounts for millions of additional jobs in related sectors. The European Industry has remarkable capacity for research and innovation, boasts a skilled workforce and has earned a global reputation for quality and sustainability. What it now needs is the swift and determined support of the European Institutions and the Member States to create more jobs and growth in Europe. As we approach the preparation of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, it is vital to act and help the EU remain a competitive global industrial player’