Minister Gabriel travelled to Warsaw today at the invitation of Development Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to join the economic affairs ministers of 17 other EU Member States and Commissioner Oettinger at the fourth meeting of the "Friends of Industry" ministerial conference. The aim of this year's meeting is to discuss the requirements and context for a as well as current issues like the crisis in the European steel industry. Another important issue is "Industrie 4.0" and the question of how companies and employees in Europe can prepare themselves for the new opportunities and challenges of the digital revolution. A final declaration is to be signed at the end of the meeting.
Minister Gabriel declared: "We need re-industrialisation in Europe. Europe must position itself better in terms of industrial policy than it has in the past. We therefore wish to use today's meeting of the Friends of Industry to call on Brussels to make a clear commitment to a Europe that is attractive for industry. The goal of increasing industrial output in Europe to 20 per cent by 2020 needs to return to the top of the European policy agenda."
At the industrial conference in Berlin on 18 February 2016, Germany's had already formulated a containing a catalogue of clear industrial policy demands and discussed this with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic. These key demands form an important basis for today's meeting and the .
In the run-up to the conference, Minister Gabriel is holding trilateral talks with Poland's Development Minister Morawiecki and France's Economy Minister Macron.
The "Friends of Industry" ministerial conference was initiated by France in 2013 and is now meeting for the fourth time. The aim of this dialogue at the level of economic affairs ministers of various EU Member States is to discuss and coordinate more closely on European industrial issues. This year's meeting aims to formulate a final declaration with clear industrial policy demands, to be sent to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.
The Alliance for the "Future of Industry" is a strong combination of industry, trade unions, employers and government. It has five working groups drawing up recommendations for action on the core issues of public acceptance of industry, strengthening investment activity, the future of work in industry and industry-related services, future value creation structures, and the international competitiveness of German industry.