Industry4Europe’s Joint Paper: ‘A long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future: from words to action’

European industry is everywhere in our daily life: from the houses we build, the furniture we buy, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the healthcare we receive, the energy and means of transport we use to the objects and products ever-present in our lives.

With its skilled workforce and its global reputation for quality and sustainability, our industry is vital for Europe and its prosperity. Today, 52 million people and their families throughout Europe benefit directly and indirectly from employment in industrial sectors. Our supply chains, made up of hundreds of thousands of innovative SMEs and larger suppliers, are exporting European industrial excellence all over the world.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, millions of manufacturing jobs were lost in Europe, each time bring- ing dramatic human and social consequences. Europe is still below employment levels seen before the crisis and jobs remain vulnerable to worrying international trends, including increasing protectionism.

The European Union now needs an ambitious industrial strategy to help compete with other global regions – such as China, India and the USA – that have already put industry at the very top of their political agenda.

Therefore, the Industry4Europe coalition has heartfully welcomed the Conclusions of the European Council of March 2019 in which the Heads of State and Government have invited the European Commission to “present, by the end of 2019, a long-term vision for the EU’s industrial future, with concrete measures to implement it”, addressing “the challenges European industry faces and touching upon all relevant policy areas”.

In July 2019, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated in her Political Guidelines of the next European Commission 2019-2024: “I will put forward my plan for a future-ready economy, our new industrial strategy”. More recently, she confirmed the preparation by the Commission of a “comprehensive long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future” that shall “cover all aspects that affect industry and its competitiveness, from investment and public procurement to trade, skills, innovation and supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)”.

This Joint Paper is the outcome of months of discussions and consensus-building between a wide range of industrial sectors, all willing to contribute to the preparation of this much-awaited “comprehensive long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future”.

At a key time when the EU is discussing the next Multiannual Financial Framework, we are ready, more than ever, to step up our cooperation with the European institutions to discuss and implement an ambitious EU industrial strategy that will help Europe remain a hub for a leading, smart, innovative and sustainable industry, that provides quality jobs and benefits all Europeans and future generations.