EU industrial policy

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

Strategies and actors

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

In autumn 2017 the Commission published a Notice  on the EU’s industrial policy strategy, in which it presented the main emphases and outlines of the new strategy. Appended to the strategy was a list of initiatives already under way and the measures and initiatives to be presented in 2018.

A key objective of the strategy is to ensure the competitiveness of European industry in this age of globalisation and digitalisation. Industrial competitiveness is supported through measures such as the promotion of digitalisation, investment and research and innovations in Europe’s industrial sectors, and by deepening the Single Market.

Industrial policy is also closely linked to other major EU policy areas. In addition to the published strategy,  the following also represent key steps forward for promoting  the competitiveness of companies: Digital Single Market Strategy, Single Market for goods and services, Energy Union, Bioeconomy Strategy, Circular Economy Package, and Capital Markets Union.  In practice, industrial policy is formulated in cooperation between the Commission and Member States.

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

While the policy of DG GROWTH is mainly concerned with securing the operating conditions for industries and SMEs in a rather conventional manner, DG CNECT is responsible for the digital economy, including promotion of the digitalisation of companies. The portfolio of Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, which includes the European Fund for Strategic Investments (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:

Eija Laineenoja - eija.laineenoja(at)tem.fi
Isabella Paju - isabella.paju(at)tem.fi