Competitiveness. Sustainability and Innovation. These well-worn buzzwords are nonetheless key the EUs leading industries hoping to become more competitive—far more competitive— in order to meet demanding consumers' needs and wants.
An overall industrial output target of 20% of GDP is the goal but it is an ambition which will require a lot of investments.
Airbus is cited as a great example of pan European industrial cooperation to create a world-beating company in its field. But other European heavy industries like steel and automotives still struggle to keep up with well-equipped and cheaper competitors abroad, particularly in Asia and increasingly in North America.
Powerful national industry associations like the German Automotive Industry V-D-A remain cautious about the benefits of a pan European approach to industrial policy.
I cannot imagine that we´ll have a global European automotive industry but maybe there will be some consolidation, but it´s very difficult to say in the moment when or who.
Proponents of the new industrial order advocate nothing short of a radical change in thinking among industry's champions to defend and expand its technological assets.
But that's easier said than done, says Frank Proust EPP Shadow Rapporteur in Parliament´s Industry Research and Energy Committee.
Europe will invest in innovation and research but with the condition that they both transform into economic capital and jobs. We have to give back to Europe priorities and big projects like we did with Airbus to provide a real visibility, legibility and competitiveness.
Creating jobs through the use of clean technologies advanced manufacturing and smart grids are the way forward, Proust insists, but workers need to do their part.
The jobs of yesterday are not the jobs of today, and will not be the jobs of tomorrow. Europe must be united, we have to stop acting individually, and we should start going together on the emerging countries to win in competitiveness and efficiency. A Europe that acts, a Europe that protects, a Europe that is gaining in competitiveness therefore in growth and in particular creating jobs.
Another leading force for change is EU Enterprise Commissioner Antonio Tajani. He extols the virtues of making the EU attractive through greater flexibility for all aspects of the value chain but admits there are some lagging behind.
It´s important to back the industrial sector. The European Commission wanted to achieve a target of 20% of GDP before the end of 2020 coming from the manufacturing sector and it's important to change, to reduce our red tape. It´s important to work in favour of better access to finance. It´s also important to back young entrepreneurs. With this solution it´s possible to compete in the world.
Meanwhile Proust says the race is on to meet the ambitious targets, but those public authorities have to pull together a lot more than they have done.
There is a huge effort to do in the reactivity and flexibility, to obtain those helps, and to make possible that when a company has needs it could have those needs and obtain answers quickly to react to the market in the most efficient way.
At the end of the day, what the EPP group and its historic close relationship with industry are trying to achieve, officials say, is a future of consolidation and aggressive innovation.
The idea being that eventually a "Made in the EU" label will carry every bit the weight of Made in Germany or Made in France for high end automobiles and aeronautics respectively.
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