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Regions are crucial in shaping the new EU Industrial Strategy  

The role of EU Regions is crucial in designing the new industrial strategy for a greener Europe , the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) points out in an opinion drafted by Jeannette Baljeu (NL/RE) , Member of the Council of the Province of Zuid-Holland . The opinion calls for a reinforced place-based dimension in the new EU Industrial Strategy. This could allow regions and cities, as the governments closest to citizens and ecosystems, to take ownership of the twin green and digital transitions of their industry.

In March 2020, the European Commission published its Communication on the new Industrial Strategy for Europe . The CoR welcomes its focus on industrial ecosystems. However, it stresses that the strategy should be based on a multi-level governance where each level is given clear responsibilities and resources for implementation. Moreover, the Committee stresses that the support of all stakeholders is necessary to reach the goals of the dual transition to a green and digital industry.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more visible that our value chains are highly dependent on each other on both a European and international scale. This dependence shows the importance of international trade and that at the same time we must strengthen our European industry and where necessary protect it" said Jeannette Baljeu, rapporteur of the opinion A new Industrial strategy for Europe .

According to rapporteur Baljeu, the European Industrial Strategy should not only focus on more competitiveness, a smarter and greener European economy, but also on support for industry to emerge from the economic crisis. “We can do this by working together at all levels of government and with all kinds of partners, strengthening more and more local and regional ecosystems and by promoting cross-border cooperation. A place-based approach with an eye for regional and local diversity is indispensable for a more competitive, green and smart EU industry", she added.

The CoR opinion underlines that the Green Deal has to be included at the core of the new EU Industrial Strategy to reach climate neutrality and digital leadership. The Regional Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) are crucial in this process because they are the best tool available to enable cooperation within regional ecosystems and with other local ecosystems with complementary skills, thus enabling Europe-wide value chains and innovation pathways to be created.

Jeannette Baljeu's opinion asks the Commission to enrich the industrial strategy with measures to help cope with the current COVID-19-induced crisis and to prepare for new pandemics in the future to ensure the resilience of Europe's society and economy. The EU annual regional and local Barometer , published by the CoR on 12 October, contains a series of examples of regional and local responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Zuid-Holland , where Baljeu is Member of the Council of the Province, in cooperation with other private and public institutions such as The Hague or Rotterdam, has launched an online platform called "Resilient Society" where innovative companies can provide solutions for COVID-related challenges.

Baljeu's opinion was discussed on 13 October and will be adopted by the CoR at the end of the Plenary session. The CoR plenary is taking place during the European Week of Regions and Cities .

Click here to read a recent interview with Jeannette Baljeu.


Matteo Miglietta

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