State Secretary Matthias Machnig at the fifth conference "Friends of Industry"

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Representatives from 19 European countries and EU Industry Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska are meeting in the Economic Affairs Ministry today for the fifth “Friends of Industry” conference. Last year, Poland hosted the conference, and this year’s event is taking place in Berlin. The key issues are digitisation, investment, sustainability and trade. A joint declaration will be adopted at the end of the meeting.

State Secretary Matthias Machnig said: “We need a strong industrial sector in Europe and a clear EU industry strategy with specific measures to boost the competitiveness of our industry. We call on the European Commission to quickly present such a strategy. A strong European industrial sector and a clear stance on industrial policy also form part of our response in Europe to isolationist tendencies in other parts of the world. Europe is not just the world’s largest internal market: it is also a global industrial base. If Europe’s industrial sector is to remain competitive, we need to make sure it can tackle the challenges of digitisation. To do this, we need investment, particularly in digital infrastructure and innovation, and in the key enabling technology of microelectronics.”

At the international industrial conference in Berlin on 18 February 2017, Germany’s “Future of Industry” Alliance had already formulated a joint declaration (PDF, 130KB) containing a catalogue of clear industrial policy demands and discussed this with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. These key demands form an important basis for today’s “Friends of Industry” meeting.

The “Friends of Industry ministerial” was initiated by France in 2013 and will take place for the fifth time this year. The aim is to discuss fresh ideas for European industrial policy.

A joint declaration is being adopted at the end of the conference containing industrial policy demands and a clear call for a new European industrial strategy. It will be sent to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.

The Joint Statement can be found here (PDF, 130KB).