“Europe’s industry is the motor of growth and prosperity in Europe. And it is at its best when it draws on what makes it strong: its people and their ideas, talents, diversity and entrepreneurial spirit. This is more important than ever as Europe embarks on its ambitious green and digital transitions in a more unsettled and unpredictable world.”

Ursula von der Leyden – President of the European Commission.

The new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green, digital Europe has been released by the European Commission, aiming to tackle two of the biggest challenges facing Europe: the transformation of the continent into a digital leader, and the attainment of climate neutrality by 2050. Through its publication of three different documents, the Commission has laid out how it will deliver on key priorities such as Europe’s industrial leadership, the boosting of SMEs to lead the transition, and the reinforcement and enhancement of the Single Market.

“Europe has the strongest industry in the world” said the Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton. To keep it up to date for the era of digitalisation, different initiatives will be developed:

  • an Intellectual Property Action Plan to maintain technological sovereignty, adapting the EU’s legal framework to the green and digital transitions ongoing in Europe;
  • a review of EU competition rules to ensure that the common rules are tailored for the Green Deal, in addition to digitalisation guidelines;
  • a White Paper on access to EU public procurement and funding by foreign actors as well as external subsidies funnelled into the Single Market which disrupt our economies;
  • measures to boost the decarbonisation of old-fashioned, energy-intensive industries;
  • an Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials to ensure the autonomy of the Union regarding the supply of these materials;
  • a group of strategic alliances on topics such as Clean Hydrogen, Low-Carbon Industries, Industrial Clouds and Platforms;
  • further and deeper legislation and guidance on green public procurement.

An Industrial Forum will be set up, composed of representatives from industry, SMEs, big companies, social partners, researchers, Member States and EU institutions.

Taking into account the key role SMEs play in the European economic system, a tailored strategy has been included. It will help SMEs to lead both transitions by ensuring access to the right skills for the future, the removal of regulatory and practical obstacles to doing business and scaling up companies, the development of an EU Start-up Nations Standard, and the reinforcement of the EU SME Envoy as a platform that will strive for political commitment.

The European Commission additionally wants to tackle the barriers which lead to underperformance of companies within the Single Market. Restrictive and complex national rules, limited administrative capacities, and imperfect transposition of EU rules and their inadequate enforcement are some of the obstacles sought to be avoided with an action plan for better implementation and enforcement of Single Market rules. Lastly, a Just Transition Mechanism is planned to provide financial support and technical assistance to those regions, businesses, and citizens most affected by this transition to a greener Europe.