Less bureaucracy, aids for the green and digital transition, support for access to funding. The European Commission addressed these themes while discussing the new strategy of industrial policies presented today. This document has deep roots – the European Council called for an EU overall industrial political strategy already in March 2019 – but comes in a historic moment, during which the COVID-19 emergency risks to put in jeopardy the foundations of the single market. The European Commission, while reaffirming the industry’s pivotal role in supporting economic growth and prosperity in Europe, paves the road to “the dual transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership”. This strategy aims to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and its strategic autonomy in a moment of shifting geopolitical plates and increasing competition worldwide.
This set of measures outlines a new approach to the European industrial policy, one firmly rooted in the European values and in the social market’s traditions. The Plan establishes a series of actions in favour of all the operators of the European industry: large and small businesses, innovative start-ups, research centres, service providers, suppliers and social partners. The main initiatives concern a new industrial strategy, through a plan of action on intellectual property, the ongoing review of EU standards in the field of competition and the adoption of a White paper, a text that should tackle the distortive effect of foreign subsidies in the single market and address the issue of foreign actors accessing public procurement and EU funding. Overall measures will also be launched to modernise and decarbonise energy-intensive industries; it will promote an action plan for critical raw materials, an alliance for clean hydrogen and also further rules and guidelines in the field of green public procurement.
Many actions will be taken in favour of SMEs “which play a key role in the European industrial fabric, account for two-thirds of the jobs and are essential to the success of the new industrial approach”. The aim is to remove regulatory and practical obstacles to entrepreneurial activity