“It is high time that we put in place a more active Industrial Policy in the European Union. We need to build up a strong digital industry and keep manufacturing as the backbone of a competitive European industry. The EPP Group can subscribe to the goals set up by the European Commission,” stated Christian Ehler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the Industry Committee (ITRE) after the presentation of a new European Industrial Strategy by the European Commission.
The new Industrial Strategy is weaved into the EU Green Deal, the transition of Europe into a climate-friendly economy and into digital transformation. Ehler welcomes the switch from policies to concrete strategies when it comes to tackling both climate and digital challenges.
“We have to cope with the fact that this is of a deeply transformative nature. We want to change whole industries and whole sectors with this strategy. It is a good approach as opposed to the regulatory angle we had so far," Ehler said.
At the same time, the EPP Group does not want to turn a blind eye to the massive pressure coming from the US and China on our European industries.
“If we really want to compete at a global level on equal terms, a review of state aid and public procurement rules is essential as well as a sharp focus on priority sectors in European industry,” Ehler stressed.
“We should also modernise competition law. I agree, the framework should be centred on the global market and no longer the Single Market. On the other hand, I do not agree that priority should be given just to big companies. This would not be the right way,” Ehler stated.
Ehler wants the industry strategy to learn from concrete examples like the ‘battery alliance.’ “This could be the blueprint for a strategic value chain approach that enables short-term success stories, which show that a decarbonised economy is possible", the MEP argued.
“Priority should be given to strategic sectors and flagship projects such as CO2-free steel plants, climate-neutral aviation or the decarbonisation of parts of an energy intensive chemical cluster. We also need investments in key digital and enabling technologies, such as quantum computing," Ehler continued.
The EPP Group wants to involve industry itself in the implementation of the strategy. “The plan to create an open Industrial Forum, which will include participants ranging from industry, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to social partners, researchers along with EU Member States and EU Institutions, makes it much more likely that we get everybody on board on a joint European approach,” Ehler concluded.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States