Procedure : 2017/2732(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0446/2017

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PV 05/07/2017 - 8.13
CRE 05/07/2017 - 8.13
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0440/2017

further to Question for Oral Answer B8-0319/2017

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

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

Reinhard Bütikofer on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

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

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 9, 151, 152, 153(1) and (2), 191, 192, 193 and 173 thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 14, 27 and 30 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 November 2010 entitled ‘An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs: A European contribution towards full employment’ (COM(2010)0682),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an industrial policy for the globalised era(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2012 entitled ‘A stronger European industry for growth and economic recovery’ (COM(2012)0582),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 January 2014 entitled ‘For a European industrial renaissance’ (COM(2014)0014),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2014 on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2015 entitled ‘Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 October 2016 on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy in light of the recent Caterpillar and Alstom cases(3),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 15 December 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2017 on digitising European industry(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 29 May 2017 on a future EU industrial policy strategy,

–  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 European industry is a global leader in many industrial sectors, accounts for over half of the EU’s exports and around 65 % of investment in research and development (R&D), and provides more than 50 million jobs through direct and indirect employment, meaning 20 % of all jobs in the Union;

B.  whereas European industry needs to preserve its capacity to invest in Europe and to address social and environmental challenges and remain a leader in terms of social and environmental responsibility;

C.  whereas 65 % of business spending on R&D is by manufacturing industry, and whereas the strengthening of the EU’s industrial base is therefore essential to keeping expertise and know-how in the EU;

D.  whereas in the face of global challenges such as climate change, it is essential that energy and resource efficiency and the circular economy be at the heart of the renewal of European industry if it intends to maintain its competitiveness in the future;

E.  whereas an ambitious innovation policy which favours the production of high-quality, innovative and energy-efficient products and promotes sustainable processes will allow the EU to succeed in a competitive world context;

F.  whereas fair trade in industrial products must respect high standards of workers’ rights and environmental legislation, both in the EU and in third countries;

G.  whereas investment in renewable energy, energy and resource efficiency and the circular economy is a major driver for investment in industrial products capable of creating virtuous circles;

H.  whereas labour productivity has grown much faster in recent decades than resource productivity, while estimates show that labour represents less than 20 % of production costs, with resources representing 40 %;

I.  whereas the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors alone could create 5 million jobs directly and many more indirectly by 2020;

J.  whereas innovation and investment in R&D, jobs and skills renewal are essential for competitiveness and sustainability;

K.  whereas the countries with the highest innovation rates are those with a clear industrial strategy; whereas the countries and sectors which are most resource-efficient are the most competitive;

L.  whereas in industrial manufacturing, as well as from a public good perspective, an exclusive focus on short-term financial returns and short-term capital profitability has been to the detriment of innovation, investment in R&D, employment, wages and skills renewal;

M.  whereas the green sector was one of the main net creators of jobs in Europe during the recession, and whereas companies with a long-term plan for operating in the green economy create jobs that are more resilient to the current externalities of the globalised economy;

N.  whereas the potential for expansion in green jobs is hampered by a skills deficiency and mismatch caused by, inter alia, variability of curricula in relation to sustainability, identified shortcomings in particular sectors, and a lack of students having the necessary skills in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and in IT;

O.  whereas there is a need to prepare workers in a timely manner for a shift towards a resource-efficient, climate-friendly economy with a huge employment potential;

P.  whereas women entrepreneurs represent 31 % of the EU’s self-employed population and 30 % of start-up entrepreneurs; whereas women are under-represented in most scientific, engineering and management posts and at higher hierarchical levels;

Boosting the real economy through a sustainable reindustrialisation policy

1.  Underlines the essential role of industry as a driver for innovation, sustainability and the creation of quality employment in Europe; emphasises the importance of modernising the EU’s industrial base, and recalls the EU’s aspiration that 20 % of the Union’s GDP should be based on industry by 2020;

2.  Is convinced that European industry should be seen as a strategic asset for the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU; stresses that only a resilient industry and a future-oriented industrial policy will allow the EU to face the challenges ahead, including the increased pressure of globalisation on several sectors of European industry, the fight against climate change, the depletion of resources and the need for transition to sustainability;

3.  Reiterates its call on the Commission and the Member States for a common and comprehensive EU industrial policy that should be put forward by mid-2018, based inter alia on digitalisation and on the transition to sustainability and to a renewables-based, energy- and resource-efficient economy;

4.  Calls for this policy to be based on clear targets and indicators – in particular ambitious renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource and climate objectives – and a life-cycle and circular economy approach; stresses that it should include a smart mix of supply- and demand-side measures aimed at re-localising the economy in the EU and making industry more resilient and less resource-dependent;

5.  Highlights the role of SMEs as the backbone of EU industry, and recalls the need to pursue an EU industrial policy in an SME-compatible way; also highlights the need to reduce the administrative burden, especially for SMEs, but without detriment to the setting and enforcement of the highest standards for consumers and workers and for health and environmental protection;

6.  Advocates a comprehensive EU industrial policy approach that gives high priority to strengthening EU value-chains and integrating all EU regions into the network of a revitalised EU industry;

7.  Calls for EU industrial policy to steer investment into creativity, skills, innovation, and sustainable technologies and solutions, and believes that it should be supported by investment in sustainable energy solutions, public transport infrastructure and smart ICT deployment;

8.  Calls for the promotion of transversal innovation alliances in order to overcome silo-dominated industrial policy approaches which can stifle innovative potential;

Setting high standards as drivers for innovation and competitiveness

9.  Highlights the need to fully exploit the potential of industry in terms of environmental technologies and to ensure that industries constantly develop and disseminate the best available techniques and emerging innovations;

10.  Emphasises the need to integrate environmental aspects into other policies such as those relating to the economy, investment, industrial standards and research and innovation, so as to give rise to a coherent and common approach; considers that actions carried out within the Union should also be complemented by internationally strengthened actions and cooperation with third countries in order to address common challenges;

11.  Believes that legislation can be a driver of innovation and that setting high standards in the EU stimulates the necessary private R&D investments that enable European companies to deliver quality products/services in the EU market and to compete on international markets;

12.  Recalls the important role of EU standardisation and advocates a strong focus on playing a leading role in international standards organisations; calls for the EU to regain its leading role in setting, implementing and enforcing high environmental standards, and warns that falling behind third countries (as for example in setting vehicle emission standards) would impact on not only the sustainability but also the competitiveness of EU industry;

13.  Believes that public procurement and eco-labelling have an essential role to play in the uptake of sustainable products, services and innovations and in the re-localisation of the economy; calls for swift implementation of the EU public procurement directives and for a concerted effort by Member States and the Commission to ensure that contracting authorities base their tendering decisions on the MEAT (most economically advantageous tender) principle, focusing on life-cycle costs and environmentally and socially sustainable products, preventing wage dumping and unfair competition, and helping to strengthen regional economic structures;

A revisited competition policy that enables EU industry to compete on the global level

14.  Calls on the Commission to revisit EU competition law in order to take into account more adequately the emerging role of major national players in third countries;

15.  Calls on the Commission to perform screening of third countries’ foreign direct investment in the EU under the aspects of security and protection of access to key future technologies;

16.  Calls on the Commission to better monitor non-European investment in EU Member States and to guarantee compliance with European public procurement legislation, for example the legislation on abnormally low tenders and unfair competition;

17.  Calls on the Commission to pay more attention to the role of foreign-based state-owned enterprises that are supported and subsidised by their governments in ways that the EU single market rules prohibit for EU entities;

Aligning trade policy with the industrial policy and transition objectives

18.  Calls for a trade policy that is more consistent with industrial policy, so that the new generation of trade agreements does not lead to fresh relocations and further deindustrialisation in the EU;

19.  Emphasises that trade and investment policies should be aimed at contributing to sustainable development, the creation of quality jobs and the promotion of high social and environmental standards in industry and manufacturing; calls on the Commission to ensure that trade agreements consolidate those standards;

20.  Stresses the need to prevent EU trade policy from fostering anti-competitive practices, including social and environmental dumping, in particular the dumping of cheap products that put European standards at risk and affect EU-based industries; calls for the EU to urgently take the necessary measures to defend itself against unfair trading practices and to strengthen its trade defence instruments significantly by improving their reactivity and effectiveness;

21.  Emphasises the need for a consistent WTO-compatible and effective anti-dumping and anti-subsidies strategy for the EU;

22.  Notes the need to coordinate EU efforts towards reducing resource dependency on third countries by combining a triple effort of fair international market access to resources, sustainable domestic mining including urban mining, and efficiency technology innovations with EU contributions to multilateral global resource policy governance;

23.  Stresses that while in several sectors of the economy the EU is largely open to competitors from third countries, third countries have various barriers in place that discriminate against European companies; highlights the need for a fair and level playing field as regards global competition for reciprocal market access, in order to avert the risk of job losses and safeguard industrial know-how in Europe;

Financing energy and sustainability transition as a driver for industrial policy

24.  Calls for the integration into the EU industrial strategy of effective green financing instruments and measures helping to create more market transparency regarding carbon risk; highlights the need to facilitate the sustainable development of industry in the light of the goals set by the Paris Agreement;

25.  Calls for the allocation of EU and Member State public and private resources in the context of a broad green investment plan focused on the energy transition, sustainable mobility and the circular economy; believes that EU funds, including the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), the Connecting Europe Facility funds and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), offer a powerful opportunity for financing those investments; believes that state aid guidelines should be better tailored and used to deliver innovation- and sustainability-enhancing policy measures;

26.  Believes that structural changes to national and international financial and fiscal systems, including shifting taxation policies from labour to resources, the internalisation of external costs, fossil fuel divestment and making the emissions trading system (ETS) function, are essential for creating an economic framework which fosters private and public investment in the context of a sustainable industrial policy;

27.  Expects the Commission to come forward in 2018 with a carbon budget for the Union that is consistent with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, including, as part of the Energy Union, identification and support measures for the development of the renewables energy projects of the Energy Union;

28.  Recognises the importance and specific nature of the rail supply industry, which is characterised by high capital intensity, significant dependence on public procurement and the obligation to comply with very high safety standards; recalls the essential contribution of rail transport in delivering climate change objectives and the need to ensure that Europe maintains a technological and innovative advantage in this sector; asks the Commission to ensure increased use of the ESIFs – and in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – for supporting rail investment projects at regional and local level;

29.  Recalls the great job creation potential and cost reduction benefits that energy efficiency improvements are expected to yield; stresses that measures, including targets, standards and benchmarking mechanisms, that improve energy efficiency must therefore underpin initiatives in all industrial sectors; points out that the transport and construction industries, in particular, must pursue an active energy-saving policy and diversify towards sustainable, non-polluting and safe energy sources;

30.  Calls for a drastic improvement in the implementation of sustainability as well as of social and employment criteria in the use of EU funds, in particular EFSI, and of all financial instruments managed through the European Investment Bank (EIB);

31.  Calls for underpinning industry-oriented R&D investments with the aim of ensuring resource and energy efficiency, deployment of renewable energy sources, and support for the circular economy and sustainability; calls for concrete instruments to allow the EU and Member States to pool R&D efforts in those priority areas and to enable the uptake of the results in the local economy and across value networks;

Upgrading skills for future-oriented employment in the industry sector

32.  Emphasises the need for coordinated EU efforts to pursue the promotion of new skills as well as retraining, upskilling and lifelong learning, as advocated by the Commission in its Agenda for New Skills and Jobs;

33.  Stresses the need to develop more and better access to training, lifelong learning and fit-for-the-future vocational training and university education, with a strong emphasis on the STEM subjects, support for entrepreneurship and an adequate social safety net, together with a second-chance policy; emphasises that workplace democratisation needs to be expanded and that workers should have an individual right to training;

34.  Believes it is crucial, in order to maximise the net job potential of the green economy, that the existing EU workforce be provided with proper opportunities to acquire the new skills needed for the circular economy and to cope with the transition towards more sustainable production processes and products; calls for a European training and education strategy supporting companies, research institutes and social partners in jointly investigating the skills needs required for environmental sustainability;

35.  Underlines that, according to the available statistics and surveys, women are under-represented in most scientific, engineering and management posts and at higher hierarchical levels; highlights the fact that female professionals in manufacturing industries are an asset for the EU; calls on the Commission to identify the challenges and obstacles that women face in becoming entrepreneurs, and to promote and support female leadership;

Fairer taxation and investing in the real economy

36.  Deplores the financialisation of the real economy, driven by a corporate culture focused on a short-term financial outlook – i.e. value creation for shareholders – rather than on maintaining an innovative industrial tool that can provide quality jobs and long-term benefits to society; regrets that this approach has led to numerous job losses in the manufacturing sector;

37.  Regrets the lack of fair taxation at EU level of large corporations operating around Europe and globally; believes that tackling tax evasion and avoidance would enable taxes on SMEs to be reduced and local public budgets to be replenished for investment in the future; calls for the establishment of a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) as an own resource in the EU budget.

38.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.




OJ C 199E, 7.7.2012, p. 131.


OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 89.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0377.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0240.

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