Eurochambres takeaways from the updated EU Industrial Policy


The updated 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery”, seeks to “learn lessons from the COVID-19 crisis, strengthen the EU’s economic resilience and accelerate the transition to climate neutrality and the digital age. EUROCHAMBRES welcomes the revision of the 2020 Industrial Strategy, but highlights the need for a realistic industrial strategy that reflects the post-COVID-19 era.

A solid single market

In her 15 September SOTEU address, President von der Leyen highlighted the upcoming celebration of 30 years of the single market as an enabler of progress and prosperity in Europe. Chambers note the need for adequate implementation of existing single market rules, especially for SMEs. The Commission should continue to focus on implementing and enforcing the rules, and on tackling barriers to the single market that pre-dated the crisis.

A globally competitive Europe

The EU as the largest trade network in the world, needs to remain open, fair and value based to attract investors and support its economic activities. EUROCHAMBRES call for a positive global agenda in order to enable businesses to adjust their supply chains, become resilient helping European businesses to diversify suppliers and set up increased stockpiling for strategic reserves. Ensuring a more level playing field globally in the field of public procurement and concerning subsidies is necessary. Both the IPI (International Procurement Instrument) and the tool for third-country subsidies should focus on reciprocity and avoid protectionism.

NextGenerationEU funds must be put to effective use

The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which is part of the NGEU recovery effort, is focused on modernising the member states’ economies and reducing disparities. It is crucial to ensure that the various plans of the Member States for Europe's recovery are aligned, with the necessary regulatory framework and incentives for businesses.

Industrial ecosystems

The Commission proposed 14 industrial ecosystems in its industrial strategy to better capture the dynamism of European industry, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the links between various players such as suppliers or startups. As part of the updated strategy, the Commission is working on three fronts: ecosystem matrix, business cases and KPIs.

The ecosystem matrix is important but measuring cross-sectorial performance cannot be overlooked as it is fundamental to assessing challenges and opportunities in industrial policy. Linked to this, ecosystems should not be treated as isolated entities with different rules or regulations. EUROCHAMBRES recommends a stronger coordination between ecosystems to achieve industrial symbiosis and progress on single market integration.

Chambers of commerce and industry are ideally placed to support the European Commission in gathering input directly from businesses in relation to the key performance indicators to measure the progress of the industrial strategy. The annual EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey, released every year (next one in November 2021), is a prime example of this, revealing the expectations of around 50.000 businesses on the year ahead. In parallel, chambers across the European network are in constant contact with businesses that can are at the heart the EU industrial strategy; it is our entrepreneurs who can ultimately gauge if the objectives are being met.

The twin transition

The Commission’s European Green Deal and digital strategy offer a sound basis for boosting the EU’s competitive and innovation capacity, transitioning towards a sustainable and digital economy and supporting the post-pandemic economic recovery. The EU must continue to promote digital innovation: artificial intelligence; equipping the European workforce with digital skills; encouraging investments in a cleaner economy while enabling businesses’ access to finance, and avoiding disproportionate and burdensome administrative requirements.

For the future, the updated Industrial Strategy should provide a roadmap to speed up industrial recovery. It is crucial that the timing and implementation of all the measures and tools underpinning the strategy are coherent.

Lina Konstantinopoulou, Policy Director of EUROCHAMBRES
Lina Konstantinopoulou, Policy Director of EUROCHAMBRES