Turning Global Challenges into Opportunities
The global competitiveness of European industry is absolutely key to a powerful, influential and sovereign Europe. After several attempts to reignite industrial policy at European level in the past decade, a new industrial strategy needs to be genuinely game-changing. Now, with a new European Commission in office, the timing is right.
As we welcome a new decade, Europe is facing an increasingly complex geopolitical world as it moves towards a climate-neutral and digital society. Externally, the fabric of diplomacy is shifting and once rock-solid partnerships are strained. Internally, the European integration model is under stress and many national political systems have been shaken up. Europe is losing ground in international competition. This is particularly obvious in the dominance of ‘digital giants’ from the US and China. Our position will continue to erode if Europe does not set an ambitious, determined and unified response, informed by a clear strategy on where we want to go and how. Time is of the essence.
The Chief Executives and Chairs of leading European companies who form the European Round Table for Industry (ERT) believe that the European model has powerful answers to meet this new situation. Europe has significant assets and capabilities that can be brought to bear. Our success will depend at least as much on leveraging and enhancing these strengths as on addressing our weaknesses.
A strong industrial base is the foundation of our competitiveness and prosperity. European industry can play a significant role here by creating value for society. Without industry, it will be impossible to transform society towards a sustainable, climate-neutral and digital future. A strong Europe will be good both for people and for companies based in Europe and will make a strong and positive contribution to global communities. Urgent action is needed. Other regions are implementing highly ambitious (and sometimes aggressive) industrial policies.
ERT thus welcomes and strongly supports the ambition of the incoming European Commission to develop a long-term strategy for the future of European industry.
Our new paper Turning Global Challenges into Opportunities – A Chance for Europe to Lead outlines key arguments and priorities for action for a modern and ambitious European industry strategy. It is supported by key data on the ERT Competitiveness and Industry Benchmarking Report 2019. Our goal is to create a strong industry-based and innovation-driven economy building further on Europe’s primary asset: the Single Market. We favour a political union of European societies dedicated to social cohesion and inclusion, and common European values that unify us in our diversity. We stand ready to work with the European Commission, the Member States, the European Parliament and all other key stakeholders, to drive this strategy forward.
A successful strategy should not be based on a single programme but on a wider set of specific actions. It should boost European competitiveness and strengthen innovation. It should reinforce the EU’s technological sovereignty in strategic value chains and focus on three major challenges: climate change, digitalisation and global trade.