Left to right: DGB leader Reiner Hoffmann, BAVC President Margret Suckale, Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel, BDI President Ulrich Grillo, VCI President Dr Marijin Deckers, IG BCE Chairman Michael Vassiliadis; Source: BMWi/Maurice Weiss

© Source: BMWi/Maurice Weiss

The High-Level Group of the Alliance for the "Future of Industry" adopted a joint declaration at today's high-level industrial conference on the "Prospects for the Future of Industry in 2030" in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It contains industrial policy guidelines and specific calls for an innovative industrial base with high levels of investment.

The joint declaration sets out specific recommendations for action by the EU:

  • Europe's global competitiveness must be boosted by investment and innovation. This requires more coherent legislation. Negative impacts, e.g. on investment activity and innovative capabilities in Europe, must be prevented (rules and regulations must undergo a competitiveness and innovation check
  • Better coordination of legislation, and in particular an orientation to the international regulatory framework, is also important in energy and climate policy.
  • The EU and the Member States must work to ensure that the new climate resolutions agreed in Paris are globally binding in order to prevent carbon leakage, and ultimately also job and investment leakage. The 20% industry target must be granted the same priority as the 20% climate target.
  • In Europe, the design of the emissions trading system (ETS) must include the possibility of industrial growth based on technological progress.
  • In terms of the possible Market Economy Status for China, the Alliance expects a clear analysis from the European Commission, and particularly a comprehensive economic impact assessment for European industry.
  • As Europe moves towards the digital single market, the Alliance wants to see faster progress and the retention and establishment of key enabling technologies and skills (e.g. in microelectronics, battery cell manufacturing and research).

The three initiators of the Alliance said the following in the course of the conference:

Minister Gabriel: "A strong industry is important for Germany and Europe. I am firmly convinced that Europe can only remain competitive in the long term if it has an industrial core. Industry nowadays means high-tech, rapid innovation, good training, basically: eight million attractive and productive jobs. But it is also clear that industry can only guarantee prosperity and economic success if it is competitive – not just within Europe, but worldwide. This requires reliable European rules and policies for investment, research and development, and particularly a European industrial policy which points in the right direction. The goal of raising the share of industry in Europe to 20% (of GDP) by 2020 remains on the European policy agenda for me and must be granted the same priority as the 20% climate target."

BDI President Ulrich Grillo used clear words: "The global economic and financial crisis has shown us that Europe needs a strong and modern industrial sector. The priority must be placed on investment in Europe. The level of investment in Europe is currently 15% below the pre-crisis level. There is an annual investment shortfall of approximately €300 billion. The Alliance for the "Future of Industry" expects clear industrial policy guidelines from European policymakers."

IG Metall Chairman Jörg Hofmann: "Important decisions are currently being taken for the future of industry and jobs. We are faced with the question of how to keep a Europe without internal borders. What should the energy policy of the future look like? How can we safeguard the European steel industry from unfair competition, and how can the market ramp-up of electric mobility be assisted? Taking the right way forward on these issues requires coordinated joint action - and that is why we have helped to set up the Alliance for the "Future of Industry" and are working on specific solutions."

A Forsa survey of the public commissioned by the Alliance shows how important it is to engage in a dialogue with people about public acceptance of industry. The Alliance has planned a host of activities for this. For example, a nation-wide action week will be held in September.

Today's industry conference is being held by the Economic Affairs Ministry together with the Alliance for the "Future of Industry" - a strong combination of industry, trade unions, employers and government.

Further information about the Alliance (in German): www.buendnis-fuer-industrie.de