Dutch Councillor Baljeu presents suggestions for a renewed EU industrial policy
Regional and local leaders call for a coordinated European approach to ensure that European industry remains innovative and competitive in the future. In an opinion drawn up by Jeannette Baljeu (NL/Renew Europe), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) stresses the key role of regional and local authorities in establishing large-scale industrial cooperation that goes beyond ad-hoc initiatives and contributes to strengthening European value chains. Overall, a more holistic, multi-sectoral approach should be adopted that seeks to identify and harness local strengths and capabilities.
In response to the accelerated economic, societal and environmental challenges currently facing the EU, European industry will need to undergo far-reaching modernisation. The European Commission will launch its ideas for a long-term vision for Industrial policy in the second half of 2019 in its attempts to reshape the EU economy to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Cities and regions urge that this vision include a strong territorial and place-based approach.
“A place-based approach for European Industry is crucial if we want to remain competitive and face challenges such as the transition to a zero-carbon and digital economy. Therefore, we need to strengthen regional and local eco-systems by cooperating in the whole value chain and connecting these eco-systems throughout all European regions. Cooperation of local and regional stakeholders is key in this as we all face these challenges. We can learn from each other and grow the European Industry in a sustainable way to a stronger, more innovative and competitive European Union", says rapporteur Jeannette Baljeu (NL/Renew Europe), Commissioner in the Province of Zuid-Holland.
In the perspective of the future development of new EU industrial policy strategy in the 2021-2027 programming period, the CoR further calls for strengthened EU support for regional innovation systems, which it considers to be more important than ever. A recent (2011) OECD study shows the critical role of innovation as a durable source of regional growth and that the effects of innovation-related investments are longer-lasting than those in physical infrastructure.
The opinion adopted at the CoR plenary on 26 June also underlines that the transition of companies into more sustainable and resource-efficient business models will both help the environment and provide competitive advantage. The place-based approach can contribute to a low carbon and circular economy that is a driver of innovation and new business and employment opportunities in a regional and local context.
- The EU's industrial policy aims to make European industry more competitive so that it can maintain its role as a driver of sustainable growth and employment in Europe. In September 2017 the European Commission outlined a renewed industrial policy strategy that brings together all existing and new horizontal and sector-specific initiatives into a comprehensive industrial strategy.
- The European Council invited the European Commission on 21/22 March 2019 in its conclusions to present, by the end of 2019, a long-term vision for the EU's industrial future, with concrete measures to implement it across all relevant policy areas.
In contrast to more traditional approaches to the problems of lagging regions, where the focus is mainly on compensating for disadvantage, the place-based approach emphasises tackling the root causes of problems. It requires governments to focus more on the local and regional industrial dimensions, to differentiate between territories (as different regions have different characteristics) and take into account their specific assets and needs. It also underlines that regional and local stakeholders should be empowered to influence and shape the policies that affect them.
More information is available on the CoR's website or by e-mail.
Jan van Blerk
Tel. +32 2 282 2149
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