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19 Sep 2017

EC's Industrial Policy Strategy calls for investing in smart, innovative and sustainable industry

Following European Commission (EC) President Jean Claude Juncker's State-of-the-Union speech last week, the European Commission has released and Industrial Policy Strategy that calls for investment in smart, innovative and sustainable industry.

In his State-of-the-Union address on 13 September 2013, President Juncker had stated, "I want to make our industry stronger and more competitive. The new Industrial Policy Strategy we are presenting today will help our industries stay or become the world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation."

According to the EC, the renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy brings together all existing and new horizontal and sector-specific initiatives into a comprehensive industrial strategy. It also clarifies the tasks ahead for all actors involved and sets out the fora – an annual Industry Day and a High Level Industrial Roundtable – that will allow in particular industry and civil society to steer industrial policy actions in the future.

Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: "By embracing technological change, converting research investments into innovative business ideas, and continuing to pioneer the low-carbon and circular economy we will pave the way for a smart, innovative and sustainable industry in Europe."

The main new elements of the EU Industrial Policy Strategy include:

  • A comprehensive package to reinforce European industry's cybersecurity, including 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).

The EC points out that putting this Industrial Policy Strategy into practice will be a shared responsibility and will depend on the efforts and cooperation of the EU institutions, Member States, regions and industry itself.

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