EU industrial policy

The main objective of the EU industrial policy is to secure the competitiveness of the Union industry. Industrial policy is closely linked to other key Union policy sectors: trade, Single Market, R&D and innovation, employment, energy issues and environmental protection.   

Actions to improve competitiveness include speeding up structural change of industries and promoting the setting up and growth of businesses and cooperation among them. Enhancing R&D and innovation is also at the heart of the Union policy. Among the topical issues are the digitalisation of the European economy, bioeconomy and circular economy. Industrial policy is being made in collaboration between the Commission and Member States.

Strategies and actors

The Union competence in industrial policy is defined in Article 173 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

So far the Commission has not drafted a common strategy document on industrial policy. In spring 2016, however, Communications were published concerning the digitisation of European industry and the electronic platform economy.

Key openings with regard to the competitiveness of companies also include the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), Digital Single Market Strategy, Single Market for goods and services, Energy Union, Circular Economy Package, and Capital Markets Union.    

The Commission Directorates-General mainly concerned with industrial policy are ”Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs” (DG GROW) and ”Communications Networks, Content and Technology” (DG CNECT). 

While the policy of the DG GROW is mainly concerned with securing the operating conditions for more traditional industries and SMEs, the DG CNECT is responsible for the digital economy, including the digitisation of companies. The portfolio of Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, which comprises the European Strategic Investment Fund (EFSI), is also highly important in terms of competitiveness. 

In the European Parliament industrial policy is the responsibility of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

Further information: Kari Virtanen

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