EU industrial policy
The primary objective of the European Union’s (EU) industrial policy is to ensure the sustainable competitiveness of European industry. Industrial policy is closely linked to other key Union policy sectors such as the internal market, research, development and innovation (RDI), trade, employment, energy issues and climate targets.
Strategies and actors
In March 2020, the European Commission published an industrial policy package that contains communications on the EU’s new industrial policy strategy, the SME strategy, internal market barriers and a long-term action plan to improve the implementation and supervision of internal market rules. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission updated the strategy already in May 2021 to ensure that the EU’s industrial policy measures fully consider the new post-crisis conditions.
The purpose of the industrial strategy is to promote a more sustainable, digitalised, resilient and globally competitive economy that creates jobs. The updated strategy also takes into consideration the lessons learned from the crisis in order to strengthen the operation, crisis resilience and recovery of the internal market and to improve the EU’s open strategic autonomy.
The industrial strategy aims to ensure that Europe is among the leading industries in the world and that it is able to lead the green and digital transition as a globally competitive player relying on its strengths. The strategy emphasises support to all kinds of operators based on the ecosystem and value chain, stresses the basic factors of industry (innovation, competition and a strong and well-functioning internal market) and strengthens global competitiveness through open markets and a level playing field.
In addition to the communication on the industrial strategy, the update of May 2021 included three Commission preparatory documents:
- an annual internal market report, including analyses of the effects of the pandemic on the operation of the internal market, progress in removing barriers and implementing measures, as well as 14 industrial ecosystems and key performance indicators
- an analysis of the EU’s strategic dependencies and capacities
- a review of the competitiveness of the steel industry
Industrial policy implements strategic priorities in the EU and it is closely linked to other key policy areas of the Union. For example, the European Green Deal, Europe’s Digital Decade, Fit for 55 and NextGenerationEU set targets and include measures for the operations of companies.
The Union competence in industrial policy is defined in Article 173 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Industrial policy is being made in collaboration between the Commission and Member States.
In terms of industrial policy, the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) is the most important policy-maker. However, the Directorates-General for Competition (DG COMP), Research and Innovation (DG RTD), Climate Action (DG CLIMA), Energy (DG ENER) and Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) also make policy that has an impact on the operating environment of companies.
In the European Parliament, industrial policy is the responsibility of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
Anita Silanterä - anita.silantera(at)gov.fi
Janne Peltola - janne.peltola(at)gov.fi