Motion for a resolution - B8-0439/2017Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe

22.6.2017 - (2017/2732(RSP))

further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0319/2017
pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Angelo Ciocca, Nicolas Bay, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Lorenzo Fontana on behalf of the ENF Group

Procedure : 2017/2732(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 145 to 150 and 173 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe (O-000047/2017 – B8-0319/2017),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in all advanced economies employment in manufacturing has declined more or less abruptly since the 1970s; whereas deindustrialisation is a phenomenon that preceded the wave of economic globalisation that began in the 1990s but which has been accelerated by globalisation;

B.  whereas at present, in various advanced economies, industry employs even less than 10% of the work force, a level little higher than that which applied when industrialisation began around 1900; whereas this means that, effectively, advanced economies are reduced to mere importers of low-cost manufactured goods whose production has been relocated to developing countries;

C.  whereas, due to digitisation, economic initiatives, including those that are successful, are characterised by low employment intensity and high specialisation; whereas digitisation of production processes will soon have a major impact on the nature of jobs in industry, and not only there; whereas this will entail a change in the structure of the market, which will be reflected above all in growing fragmentation and inequality of types of work and therefore, inter alia, in terms of pay, social protection and career prospects;

D.  whereas internal macroeconomic imbalances in the Union, aggravated by the effects of membership of the euro zone and the consequent austerity policies, have prompted human capital flight, also known as the brain drain, to the detriment of the most vulnerable countries, which is making their economies structurally dependent on the economies of stronger countries;

E.  whereas the EU has only a supporting competence with regard to industrial policy; whereas the sole concern of EU action in this field is competitiveness[1], so that it promotes a mercantilism based on cutting production costs (wages) and destroying domestic demand; whereas, very clearly, this mercantilist model does not apply to the economies of all Member States in exactly the same way, and in some cases does not respect constitutional provisions;

F.  whereas, as European Union funding is linked solely to dimensional parameters and not to macroeconomic fundamentals, and as the funding is intended for structural rather than cyclical purposes, it is incapable of affording effective protection against adverse shocks;

G.  whereas, in the light of current long-term economic trends and the pro-cyclical policies adopted by the EU, the target that the EU has set for itself, namely to have industry account for at least 20% of the EU’s GDP by 2020, will clearly be unattainable, as will the aims of full employment and economic, social and territorial cohesion;

H.  whereas European budgetary constraints have impoverished the infrastructure of various Member States, including basic public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, police stations and transport networks;

I.  whereas, as there is no longer a clear separation between traditional banking transactions and investment transactions by banks, banks have gradually come to assign priority to financial and speculative transactions, depriving the economy of the credit required for the adequate mobilisation of private investment in industry; whereas policies on the Banking Union, in conjunction with the ECB’s monetary policy, have unequivocally aggravated the phenomenon;

J.  whereas, in order for an industrial strategy to be effective, it must include coordinated political action in various sectors: infrastructure, trade, energy, employment, R&D and public and private finance;

1.  Considers that any prospect of growth in the economy and in employment, and of innovation, can only come about by means of a thorough reindustrialisation, which means bringing production back from elsewhere;

2.  Stresses that in-situ production is a key factor, inter alia with a view to ensuring that the ongoing ‘digital revolution’ is sustainable and that its benefits can accrue to all, as it enables the labour market to give a second chance to those whose occupations are gradually becoming obsolete; stresses furthermore that, on the other hand, it is vital that each Member State should once again be given the opportunity to provide adequate social protection to those who cannot find a fresh niche in the labour market;

3.  Calls on the Commission to adopt trade-policy measures to eliminate incentives to import relocated goods and services; considers that such measures could be more effective if accompanied by incentives provided by Member States for the relocation of manufacturing and the continuation in situ of existing production;

4.  Considers that the first steps to be taken include the adoption of robust medium- and long-term national public investment policies in infrastructure, restructuring of the public and private building stock (including for the purpose of improving energy efficiency), restoration and conservation of cultural and architectural gems, infrastructure to safeguard the land (for example against risks of natural disasters or hydrogeological instability), restoration and modernisation of basic infrastructure (schools, hospitals, police stations, road and rail networks, airports, ports, etc.); considers similarly that analogous policies to invest in high-end industries are a priority;

5.  Notes that Union funding, although intended as an instrument to offset imbalances between Member States, in practice magnifies those imbalances, in that the provision of funding is based on the twin principles of co-financing and conditionality; takes the view that it follows that Union funding can thus be seen as a particularly underhand means by which the EU exercises control over Member-State spending policies; considers, therefore, that, for the purpose of establishing an effective reindustrialisation strategy, Union funding is not the most suitable instrument, unlike public and private investment; calls for investment by Member States to be freed from European budgetary constraints;

6.  Considers it desirable to recreate the best conditions to ensure that, alongside public investment, private investment is sufficiently mobilised; stresses, to this end, the need for clear separation of traditional banking transactions from investment transactions by banks;

7.  Reminds the Commission and Council that the Union is not permitted to introduce ‘any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States’[2] with regard to industry;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.