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Can Brussels and Member States make the flagships sail?

Date

10 Mar 2010

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

Brussels, 5 March 2010

Manufacturing industry has reclaimed its position at the base of the economic pyramid, in the
economic strategy paper the European Commission published on the 3 March. Orgalime is very
pleased with the renewed focus on industrial policy in the strategy and welcomes the proposal of
the European Commission to further develop and build on policy initiatives which it has already
initiated with stakeholders such as Orgalime with a focus to develop ‘a stronger, deeper and
extended single market’.

 

Among the points that Orgalime particularly welcomes in these initiatives are:

 

.. Flagship initiative: “Innovation Union” .. Improve framework conditions for
businesses to innovate and priorities knowledge expenditure

.. Flagship initiative: “An industrial policy for the globalisation era” .. ...establish an industrial policy creating the best environment to maintain and develop a strong,
competitive and diversified industrial base

.. Flagship Initiative: “Resource efficient Europe” .. complete the internal energy
market, initiatives to upgrade Europe’s (energy) networks, to decarbonise the
transport and the energy sector

.. Flagship Initiative: “A Digital Agenda for Europe” .. provide a stable legal
framework that stimulate investments in an open and competitive high speed
internet infrastructure and in related services

 

Orgalime believes that the Commission is right in stating that we risk a ‘lost decade’ if we fail to
reform and fail to live up to global competitiveness. Commented Adrian Harris, Orgalime Director
General: “It is time to act. We are talking of issues which will have a major impact on
manufacturing companies for many years to come: what the EU does now will determine, when
and where companies invest for the future as they recover from the economic crisis. You can only
begin to talk about the welfare state, about solving budget deficits, about tackling environmental
problems, if you have a solid industrial base. I am very happy to see that the European
Commission is getting its priorities right – at least on paper. Manufacturing industry is the basis
for future prosperity. The real questions however remain: can the institutions, both national and
European work together to deliver the framework which will encourage growth in the EU? Will the
Commission be able to propose and implement a coherent policy approach for its flagships or will it
continue to undermine its own industrial policy efforts with other policies? And will political leaders
from the Member States follow suit? These flagship initiatives risk ‘running aground’, if the
Member States and the Commission do not commit to a shared vision and concrete targets in the
areas of growth, employment, R&D-investment and higher education.”

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