European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaking to the European Parliament

© Picture Alliance/AP Photo

In his 2017 State of the Union Address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today announced the presentation of a renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy. Several EU Member States, including Germany, have long been calling for this Strategy.

Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries said: "I am delighted that Commission President Juncker today announced a new European Industrial Policy Strategy. This is a very important signal for Europe as an industrial base. Industry in Europe directly creates around 32 million jobs in the EU, it employs highly skilled workers and produces high-quality goods. Our industries are facing challenges such as the digital transformation and a changing global environment. We need to take specific industry policy measures in order to lastingly strengthen the competitiveness of our industries. The proposals on a new Communication on the EU industrial policy are a valuable commitment to Europe as an industrial base at just the right time."

The last time the European Commission issued a Communication on industrial policy was in 2014. At that time, the European Commission set a political signal by announcing a target for industrial output which is to account for 20% of GDP. EU Member States have long been calling for a new Communication that paves the way for the future of industry and sets clear signals. The Friends of Industry last met in Berlin in June 2017 at the invitation of Federal Minister Zypries. In their Berlin Declaration, which was signed by 20 European states, they called for a clear commitment to industry by the European Commission.

The strategy aims to strengthen and improve the competitiveness of European industries in the context of various measures. The dialogue of the stakeholders (e.g. at the Industry Day) will be continued and institutionalised with the aim of developing even more practical measures. More investment, especially in key enabling technologies, and innovation are intended to generate growth and create jobs which have a future. Further expanding the Single Market and improving the skills of workers strengthens our industries. Several measures aim to promote the digitisation of SMEs in particular. The transition towards sustainable production is helping to make European industry a role model at global level.

The instruments to support companies, including industrial enterprises, are intended to be modernised and expanded. The successful European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is planned to be extended until 2020 and provided with considerably more funding. The implementation of the Communication from the Commission on important projects of common European interest (IPCEIs) is to be improved and strengthened.