11 Mar, 2020

Vestager and Breton unveil EU industrial and SME strategies

On 10 March, the European Commission released its EU industrial strategy which aims at helping the sector to lead the green and digital transitions in Europe.

The strategy, overseen by Executive Vice President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton outlines a new approach to European industrial policy and sets out a series of key actions to support all players of the European industrial sector in the twin digital-green transition as well as to drive Europe’s competitiveness and increasing global competition.

The Commission’s industrial strategy also includes a dedicated SME strategy.

EU industrial strategy

As Europe is the first global actor when it comes to industry, the strategy aims at delivering on EU’s three main priorities: maintaining European industry's global competitiveness, making Europe climate-neutral by 2050 and shaping Europe's digital future.

The European Commission set out a comprehensive package of key actions including an Intellectual Property Action Plan, measures to support energy efficiency and ensuring skilling and reskilling.

The Single Market remains a core value of the European Union, therefore, this initiative also establishes concrete steps to address all barriers that impede the completion of a European Single Market which is key for businesses and consumers as well as to achieve the EU digital strategy presented earlier this month.

SME strategy

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the core of EU economy and the backbone to the Union’s prosperity and competitiveness. Therefore, a dedicated strategy for these enterprises is included in the EU industrial strategy.

The aim of the SME strategy is to help SMEs to lead the digital and green transition with measures such as capacity-building and support for the digital and green transitions, regulatory burden reduction & market and finance access improvement.

A high-level EU SME Envoy, Digital Crash Courses, Digital Innovation Hubs expansion and extra funds as well as industrial ecosystems and alliances are amongst the key actions proposed by the European Commission.

“Europe has the strongest industry in the world. Our companies - big and small - provide us with jobs, prosperity and strategic autonomy. Managing the green and digital transitions and avoiding external dependencies in a new geopolitical context requires radical change - and it needs to start now,” Breton highlighted during the press conference presenting the strategy. *

As European liberals, we believe that the completion of the Single Market is necessary to ensure the digital and green transitions. Therefore, all remaining barriers to a well-functioning European Single Market need to be removed to harness the full potential of innovative technologies and maintain Europe as the most attractive place for SMEs and benefit consumers.

Find more about the EU industrial and SME strategies here.

*See full press release here

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