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24 October 2014 / EN

Innovative Solutions for the European Industrial Renaissance

Conclusions of the Badajoz Seminar of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

  • EUROPE MUST REACH ITS INDUSTRIAL WORLD LEADING ROLE; industry represents the heart of the real economy in the EU and the source of much service sector activity. The EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions believes that the EU should be recognised as the best location to do business and remain the world’s largest exporter of manufactured products. This will only be possible by significantly improving its industrial competitiveness and completing the labour market reforms.
  • EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS MUST BECOME INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE, serving the needs of a growing and increasingly prosperous global population. This requires better industrial governance in European regions to ensure that competitiveness is a priority and main objective in all policies. Where appropriate to their legal responsibilities, local and regional authorities should be involved in all stages of the design and implementation of the industrial policy while applying a multilevel governance approach.
  • EUROPE NEEDS TO CONSOLIDATE A SOLID INTERNAL MARKET FOR GOODS, SERVICES AND ENERGY, where fair taxation, eradication of the red-tape mind-set and sustainable welfare policy systems drive to tackle unemployment and ensure better support to citizens looking for a rewarding working life. Businesses need stability and predictability as a guarantee of legal certainty in order to invest in an industry. It is essential for European industries to reach competitive energy prices and growing independence of energy supply. This requirement can be achieved both at local and regional level, as well as at national and EU level, through resilient and politically ambitious regulations. The EPP/CoR Group supports the research of alternative sources of finance, such as crowdfunding, venture capital, and other innovative tools to break through the traditional dependence on bank lending. By exploiting the platform of a strengthened single market, the EU can also enhance its external trade agenda in a spirit of reciprocity based on regional and macro-regional cooperation, where raising the profile of industry towards 20% of the GDP by 2020 is the common target.
  • INNOVATION IS A KEY ANSWER TO THE NEEDS OF EUROPEAN INDUSTRY; traditional EU industries should be modernised through the exchange of experiences and know-how between Member States. Coupled with the reinforcement  of research and development in Member States the path will be paved for innovative ideas, necessary to restructure certain sectors of each industry. Cohesion funds and Horizon 2020 must be directed into competitiveness-enhancing investment such as cross-border energy, transport and digital infrastructure, enabling cooperation between countries, supply chain integration and enhanced internal EU trade.
  • INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION ARE RECOGNISED AS DRIVERS TO SUSTAIN INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE TERRITORIAL GROWTH IN THE LONG TERM; the links between industrial and technological growth and territorial development are essential for the EU’s economic recovery and expansion. The EPP/CoR Group is convinced that the key building block to support the EU’s industrial ambitions is represented by the regional policy of smart specialisation, founded on a systematic analysis of existing regional specificities and potentialities for innovation and growth. Regional political decision makers should therefore strengthen the know-how of their territories on specific sectorial issues and key technologies, encourage the well-functioning coordination with the national level of the debate in terms of planning, implementation and evaluation of industrial policies and improve the quality of governance and the effectiveness of interventions on the ground. Long-term sustainable public-private partnerships are recognised as essential instruments for the success of the industrialisation and re-industrialisation process in the EU. Industries need to contribute to the design of a smart specialisation development strategy by helping to identify gaps in the necessary value chains in the regions and areas of activity as well as highlight the regulatory actions needed for market development. European industries need to pay particular attention to cross region, cross border and cross sector opportunities.
  • EUROPE MUST BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF A NEW INDUSTRIAL DIGITAL REVOLUTION, where citizens and industrial pioneers can work and live in a dynamic, technology-driven world. The EPP/CoR Group is convinced of the need for structural reform and an improvement in the responsiveness of industry in the competitive environment created by the push for growing globalisation trends of markets and expanding digitalisation across all economic and financial sectors. European regions and cities must create and implement a regulatory framework that stimulates innovation and ICT investment throughout the economy in their territories. The EU’s re-established role as a global innovator will trigger a virtuous circle of productivity gains, growth and job creation.