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Torsdagen den 25 oktober 2018 - Strasbourg Reviderad upplaga

18. Rättvis marknad för industrin (debatt)
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  Der Präsident. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärung der Kommission zum Thema „Fairer Markt für die Industrie“ (2018/2683(RSP)).


  Margrethe Vestager, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, thank you and thank you very much for having this debate. It’s a very important debate to have about the environment for our industry, to grow, to create jobs, but also to innovate, and I think the important thing in this debate is that Europe has a good and strong starting point.

If you want to take a look at the statistics. Europe has a very large deficit when it comes to raw materials, in particular energy. But the thing is that we have a very large trade surplus in manufactured goods, like cars, machines, chemicals. In other words, Europe’s part is in a value chain where the jobs are and where the value is created, and this is how we have brought it so far. And if you don’t want to look at the statistics, look at the magnificent European companies as you see them and as you see their products every day.

So, we have a solid industrial base thanks to European innovation, thanks to European productivity and thanks to our internal market which rests on fair competition and openness.

But we can do more. We can do more to level the global playing field and to create opportunities for a fair and open internal market. There’s plenty of work ahead of us to remain competitive and to shape globalisation so that it serves our citizens and builds on a level playing field, in particular when it concerns subsidies, reciprocity in public procurement and screening of foreign direct investment.

A rule-based system which is fair, where open markets is the rule, that’s our interest. But it’s being challenged by some of our partners questioning the global rule-based system and cooperation. The Commission is working to enforce the existing rules, so that when we trade with Japan and with the US, well, we don’t only trade, we also discuss how to strengthen the World Trade Organisation’s rules on industrial subsidies.

In relation to my portfolio as Commissioner for Competition, we also have started a dialogue with China about subsidies and fair competition.

As to procurement, we already have rules in place which allow a buyer to reject an offer which is unrealistically cheap, but also here we can do more. Foreign bidders take part in public tenders all across Europe, yet European bidders, they often find ‘buy local restrictions’ when they bid in foreign countries with European goods, and this is why the Commission has proposed an international procurement instrument. Once adopted, it will ensure reciprocity and not only that, it will also strengthen our leverage in trade negotiations with third countries to open their markets for fair procurement processes.

And we also have proposed a framework to screen foreign direct investment that affects our security and public order. We continue to work with the Parliament and the Council to make progress on these proposals. But we also need to make good use of the tools that we have already. For instance, to apply modern trade defence mechanisms to maintain fair competition worldwide.

And when we think about the challenges ahead of us, in particular those that relate to digitalisation, it’s important that we factor in how competition helps us to make our industries competitive. Companies have to compete and when they do, well, they are encouraged to make the products that consumers want, to develop new business ideas and attract even more businesses. And that’s good for consumers and for companies.

When a company is a consumer champion in Europe, well it can conquer consumers in all corners of the world, provided of course that it has open and fair market access.

All companies, big as well as small, should have a fair chance to achieve this also when they are faced with large multinationals, and that is why we stop dominant companies from shutting down competition from new competitors, and this is also why we have to review mergers, at least the large ones.

Well, we approve almost all mergers that are notified to us. Over the last 10 years more than 3 000 mergers were looked at but only seven were prohibited, were blocked, and in only slightly more than 5% of cases companies proposed solutions to our concerns, for example to sell a factory to a competitor to preserve competition in Europe.

Many of the mergers that we have approved, well they have strengthened European companies like Peugeot and Opel, like InBev and SABMiller, like Siemens and Gamesa, world-wide known competitors.

But we should not confuse the size of the individual company with the strength of our economy. These are not necessarily the same thing. For every company that wants a merger to happen there are often many European companies that are affected customers. Steel is a good example of that. It makes the steel that goes into our dishwashers, cars, machinery, and these are businesses that boost our exports. Steel users, well they employ over 30 million people in Europe. So in our merger cases, we ensure that steel companies continue to compete, so that prices stay competitive for all the many, many businesses that need steel in their production.

And just to finalise, a few words on the state aid rules, because companies cannot get state aid simply to shut down a factory and move it to another European country. It is prohibited in a fair single market that taxpayers pay for jobs moving from one country to another. But we do approve state aid that creates jobs in Europe, if they do that without distorting competition. Just last month we authorised Slovakia to support Jaguar and bring new jobs to the disadvantaged Nitra region, jobs that may otherwise have been created outside of Europe.

The Commission also simplified the rule book for state aid that doesn’t harm competition. So, now that 97% of state aid measures go ahead without needing Commission approval, Member States decide for themselves on the basis of a common rule book.

We proposed an investEU fund to support EUR 650 billion of investment. A new research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, with EUR 100 billion to invest. Both programmes would let national funds be combined with European funds, and we want to make that as easy as possible, because industry is at the heart of our European economy and we want an industry that’s competitive and creates jobs and wealth in Europe. But first of all, we want it to serve our citizens and that’s why we defend open and fair markets in Europe as well as in the rest of the world.


  Seán Kelly, thar ceann an Ghrúpa PPE. – A Uachtaráin, a Choimisinéir, comhghairdeas as d’óráid. Aontaím leis an méid a dúirt tú agus cuireann sé bród orm labhairt ar son mo ghrúpa, PPE, ar an ábhar tábhachtach seo. Go háirithe, ós rud é go bhfuilim i mo chomhalta den Choiste um Thionsclaíocht, um Thaighde agus um Fhuinneamh chomh maith. Mar a dúirt an Coimisinéir, is iad na tionscail a chruthaíonn jabanna agus saibhreas san Aontas.

Therefore, it is vital that the EU prioritises the needs of the industrial sector and provides sufficient support for its growth in the coming years. I was recently appointed as EPP-ITRE rapporteur on the new investEU programme which the Commissioner referred to, which will use a budgetary guaranteed to mobilise investment into sustainable infrastructure, research and innovation, SMEs and social investment and skills. This 650 billion fund provides an excellent opportunity to promote competition in the industry sector across all the Member States. As one of the flagship programmes of the new EU budget, it will constitute a significant part of our long-term strategy for industry in Europe. With a view to building a strong, sustainable industry sector, SMEs and start-ups should be prioritised. I believe it would also be important to have advisory hubs in each Member State to inform stakeholders on access to EU funding. We must facilitate the industry sectors’ growth, not only with funds, but also with information and above all, ease of access to those funds, which has not been the case sometimes in the past. In this way, we can accelerate digitalisation and innovation, encourage an entrepreneurial culture and increase competition in the industry sector. Earlier this year my colleague Heinz Lehmann's Committee of the Regions draft opinion on a European strategy for industry pointed to the importance of cities and regions in supporting innovation in industry and in promoting industrial adaptation to the digital advances. Local and regional authorities have a lot of influence in areas such as infrastructure, export support, research and innovation, education and skills, SMEs and regulation, all of which are crucial for a globally competitive industry. Technologies are developing at an ever-increasing pace. We should see this as an opportunity, particularly in prioritising industrial growth which is environmentally friendly. Energy is key in determining the competitiveness of the European economy and in particular of industry. A sustainable supply of energy at a reasonable cost to households and businesses, in particular industrial consumers, is crucial.

And finally, labour mobility across Europe is an important aspect of industry competitiveness. We need to promote the importance of digital and linguistic skills in order to support employability of workers abroad. We must also increase efforts to encourage participation of women in the labour market with a particular focus on female entrepreneurship, and I’m quite sure, Commissioner, you agree with that.


  Edouard Martin, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, merci Madame la Commissaire de venir débattre ici d’un sujet qui nous tient tous à cœur. Vous avez parlé de marchés, d’investissements, de produits, de compétitivité, etc., ce sont évidemment des thèmes importants.

Je voudrais axer mon intervention sur les travailleurs et les citoyens, parce qu’une entreprise, une industrie, ce n’est pas uniquement un endroit où l’on produit un bien de consommation, c’est beaucoup plus que ça. Une industrie, c’est aussi ce qui crée du lien, c’est ce qui crée des richesses, pas uniquement pour les actionnaires, mais pour un territoire, un bassin d’emploi et c’est grâce à cela que nous avons notamment des crèches, des écoles, des hôpitaux, des routes, etc. Or, le jour où ces industries disparaissent, c’est toute la société qui disparaît et la facture est présentée à la société.

Je vais vous parler de deux cas: Alcoa en Espagne et Vallourec en France. Voilà deux multinationales qui ont bénéficié de subsides à coups de dizaines de milliards d’euros d’aides publiques pour aller s’implanter dans des zones du monde où les contraintes sont moindres. La question est de savoir ce que vous allez faire, Madame la Commissaire, lorsque ces productions qui seront faites ailleurs vont revenir sur le marché européen. Quelles sont les contraintes qu’on impose à ces industries-là? Pourquoi est-ce que je dis cela? Parce qu’effectivement, si le point de vue de l’Union européenne – et je sais que ce n’est pas le vôtre, mais il faut aller plus loin que ça – est que le multilatéralisme crée des richesses, il faut se demander pour qui? Le multilatéralisme c’est surtout le laisser-faire: le laisser-faire fiscal, le laisser-faire financier, le laisser-faire économique, c’est surtout la loi du prix. C’est le prix le plus bas qui emporte le marché. Or, nous savons très bien que le prix le plus bas, c’est forcément des conditions moins-disantes: moins-disantes sur le plan social, économique et environnemental.

C’est quand même absurde – pour ne pas dire autre chose – que ce soit Trump qui dénonce cela. Alors, il le fait d’une manière détestable, évidemment, mais en réalité – et si ce n’était pas aussi grave, on en rirait – ce sont justement les inventeurs de l’ultralibéralisme qui pointent aujourd’hui les défauts du système et des règles de l’OMC. On ne peut pas continuer à jouer alors que nous n’avons pas tous les mêmes règles. Lorsque la Commission européenne s’apprêtait à reconnaître le statut d’économie de marché à la Chine, nous mettions, vous mettiez en danger l’industrie et tout le monde l’a dit! On pouvait perdre quatre millions d’emplois industriels en quelques mois. Et pourtant ça a été une proposition de la Commission européenne! Quels étaient les enjeux? Quelles étaient les pressions politiques? Où est le citoyen? Où est le travailleur?

Donc, j’ai simplement ce message à nous faire passer collectivement, et je sais que vous êtes sensible à cela: si vous voulez que les citoyens européens se rapprochent un peu plus de l’Union européenne, il faut qu’on change les règles du marché et de l’OMC. Je vous invite à rebondir sur la proposition du premier ministre canadien, M. Trudeau, qui dit «chiche, allons-y, remettons les règles de l’OMC à plat parce que sinon c’est la loi du plus fort» et vous savez très bien que les Chinois, à coups de centaines de milliards de dollars de subventions, vont tous nous tuer économiquement; si le mot d’ordre c’est d’être moins cher que moins cher, on ne fera jamais le poids, nous autres Européens. C’est notre modèle social, c’est notre modèle sociétal qui est en jeu, c’est plus que de la compétitivité, de l’innovation ou de gagner des marchés, c’est le modèle social européen, le modèle de liberté, de démocratie qui est en jeu derrière ces industries. Et je vous en parle, parce que je viens d’une région qui a été fortement industrialisée et qui est aujourd’hui fortement désindustrialisée. On fait le nid de tous les populistes, on fait le nid de tous les nationalistes, parce que quand une usine disparaît, vous vous retournez, il n’y a plus rien, c’est le désert. Et nous autres Européens, nous n’avons pas de réponse à apporter. Donc, je voudrais qu’on fasse du maintien de l’emploi et des industries, une raison objective du marché juste, parce que le marché ne sera juste que s’il est social et s’il est durable en respectant la planète et l’environnement.


  Urszula Krupa, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Moim zdaniem zasadne jest pytanie, czy w ogóle może istnieć uczciwy rynek dla przemysłu w sytuacji liberalizacji i globalizacji, jaką charakteryzuje wiele negatywnych zjawisk z globalnym terroryzmem, narastaniem nierówności społecznych wskutek nierównomiernej dystrybucji towarów i usług, katastrofalnymi rozmiarami zagrożenia środowiskowego, szerzeniem demoralizacji, ubezwłasnowolnieniem narodów, niszczeniem religii, tradycji, z dominacją społeczeństwa konsumpcyjnego nad twórczym.

Co prawda Unia Europejska dysponuje rygorystycznymi przepisami, które mają zapobiegać nadużywaniu przez przedsiębiorstwa ich dominacji rynkowej, jednak w praktyce, zwłaszcza w krajach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, rynek wewnętrzny jest zdominowany przez ogromne koncerny, dodatkowo handlujące tanimi towarami z Azji, eliminując małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa.

Dlatego zasadne moim zdaniem są dodatkowe pytania. W jaki sposób Komisja Europejska inicjuje i aktywizuje w państwach członkowskich małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa z ochroną miejsc pracy, zwłaszcza podczas spadku czy załamania koniunktury? Jakie Komisja podejmuje narzędzia fiskalne? Jakie są bariery celne, aby nie dochodziło do zalania rynku tanimi produktami spoza Unii, doprowadzając do recesji części gałęzi przemysłowych? Czy wypracowano plan działania dotyczący rozwoju przemysłu w średniej- i długoletniej perspektywie, zwłaszcza gałęzi strategicznych jak przemysł paliwowo-energetyczny, aby udział przemysłu europejskiego w unijnym budżecie był na poziomie powyżej 20%? W jaki sposób Komisja ingeruje w umowy bilateralne dotyczące sektora przemysłowego, a zwłaszcza paliwowo-energetycznego pomiędzy państwami członkowskimi a krajem trzecim spoza Unii, mające wpływ na zachwianą konkurencję w sektorze gospodarczym? Przykładem jest Nord Stream.


  Ivan Jakovčić, u ime kluba ALDE. – Poštovani predsjedavajući, poštovana gospođo povjerenice, želim odmah na početku podržati Vaše izlaganje jer je ono razumno, logično i s ciljem očuvanja naše industrijske konkurentnosti. Želim također s Vama podijeliti i neka razmišljanja. Naime, uvjeren sam da se svijet kakav je bio, ili kakvog smo poznavali prije 10, 15 ili 20 godina, definitivno mijenja.

Imamo situaciju u kojoj danas u Sjevernoj Americi netko viče America first. Imamo situaciju u kojoj na istoku Kina grabi sve jače i jače i nema nikakve dileme da se svijet promijenio, a da mi u Europskoj uniji još uvijek, na neki način, igramo po nekim starim pravilima ili želimo, na neki način, stvoriti svijet u kojemu će biti više pravde, poštenja, jednakosti, konkurentnosti i demokracije.

Međutim, vidimo i slijeva i zdesna, i sa zapada i s istoka Europe, da se stvari mijenjaju i da to baš nije tako. Tu želim izraziti svoju zabrinutost i podijeliti s vama razmišljanje gdje bi, kao Europska komisija i Europski parlament, trebali i mi napraviti našu alternativu onome za što smo se do sada stalno zalagali. I zato kažem, i rekao sam Vama već jednom ovdje, ako ovaj kaže America first, hajmo početi razmišljati treba li i nama možda Europe first, jer mi moramo čuvati naša radna mjesta, mi smo odgovorni našim građanima i sugrađanima, a ako nastavimo s ovakvom, ja dolazim iz liberala, kao i Vi, ali ako nastavimo s pretjeranom liberalnom politikom gdje neće biti pomoći industrijama, gdje neće biti previše socijalne osjetljivosti, ja mislim da neće biti dobro. Onda će zaista populisti u Europi pronalaziti prostora kako napadati našu dobronamjernu politiku. Zato mislim da je vrlo važno da razgovaramo otvoreno o tome i da vidimo koliko globalizacija u ovom trenutku može pomoći, ali može i odmoći.

Ne mogu a ne, naravno, spomenuti i ono što mi je na srcu i što znate da mi je na srcu, a to je brodograđevna industrija, koja je praktički u mnogim zemljama Europske unije nestala. Ima šanse da se to dogodi možda, nažalost, i u mojoj zemlji, u Hrvatskoj. Zbog vlastitih slabosti brodograđevne industrije u Hrvatskoj, ali želim upozoriti na jednu činjenicu koja se dogodila u Europskom parlamentu. Imali smo konferenciju zajedno sa Sea Europe i mnogim drugim brodogradilištima Europe iz raznih država i svi su zabrinuti. Ali, gospođo povjerenice, svi su zabrinuti sa zaključkom da ćemo za deset godina izgubiti brodograđevnu industriju u Europi ako nešto ne promijenimo. Vi poznajete leadership program, poznajete razne programe, i ja Vas molim da krajnje ozbiljno shvatimo ovu situaciju jer bez brodograđevne industrije znamo da gubimo mnoga, mnoga indirektna radna mjesta.


  Klaus Buchner, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Ich möchte heute nur zu einem sehr speziellen Punkt beim Wettbewerbsrecht Stellung nehmen. Es ist gut, dass es in Europa Regeln gibt, die den Wettbewerb erhalten wollen und deshalb den Zusammenschluss von Marktführern verbieten. Aber es wäre auch wichtig, die Größe von Firmen grundsätzlich zu beschränken – was leider nicht der Fall ist – und deren Einfluss und Dominanz in der Politik und in der Wirtschaft einzuschränken. Aber wir müssen bedenken – und das ist ja jetzt schon ein paar Mal gesagt worden: Europa steht nicht alleine da. Das heißt, wir müssen die Lage in der Welt berücksichtigen. Das geschieht ja laufend durch unsere Freihandelsabkommen, durch unsere Zollabkommen.

Deswegen ist es ein Anachronismus, wenn wir sagen: Wir betrachten beim Wettbewerb von Firmen nur den europäischen Raum. Denken wir daran, dass es eine ganze Reihe von Produkten gibt, wo es überall auf der Welt nur ein oder zwei, maximal drei Firmen gibt, die sich überhaupt lohnen. Nehmen wir als Beispiel Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge, nehmen wir Prozessoren von Rechnern, oder früher auch Festplatten. Es gab am Schluss eine einzige Firma in der Welt, die noch vernünftige Festplatten gebaut hat, die man hier am besten verwenden konnte.

Bleiben wir bei dem Beispiel mit den Zügen. Es ist so, dass jetzt ja Siemens gedrängt worden ist, Alstom zu übernehmen. Aber selbst der Zusammenschluss dieser beiden großen Firmen, die Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge bauen, wird nicht genügen, um die Produktion auszulasten, um die Investitionen für eine neue Generation von solchen Zügen überhaupt rentabel zu machen. Das muss man weltweit betrachten. Das heißt, hier muss man einfach einen Schritt weitergehen.

Kurz: Ich bitte einfach darum, dass man bei den Wettbewerbsregeln die neue Situation betrachtet, die mit – aber nicht nur – durch die Freihandelsabkommen geschaffen worden ist, die durch die ganze Weltsituation, die Spezialisierung auf einzelne Techniken passiert ist. Wir müssen das machen; alles andere wäre meiner Meinung nach widersinnig.


  Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, au nom du groupe ENF. – Monsieur le Président, juste une remarque préliminaire, je ne voudrais pas qu’elle soit prise sur mon temps. Quand je vais à Bruxelles et que je ne reste que six heures, je n’ai que la moitié de mes indemnités. Je suis le seul citoyen de Strasbourg membre de ce Parlement. Je constate qu’il y a très peu de mes collègues; on devrait appliquer le même principe que Bruxelles également, c’est-à-dire que si quelqu’un reste moins de six heures sur place, il ne perçoit que la moitié de ses indemnités pour la journée. Donc je voudrais – je m’excuse, je sais que je suis hors sujet –, mais je voudrais qu’il y ait réciprocité.

Je vais maintenant intervenir, je vais faire mon intervention à trois niveaux: ce qui concerne la zone Euro, ce qui concerne la zone hors-euro et ce qui concerne les nouvelles données du marché.

Au sein de la zone euro, il faut bien distinguer les choses: nous avons une monnaie unique et un marché unique. Quel est l’avantage comparatif? On a voulu un marché unique justement pour avoir un avantage comparatif. Le plus fort devient plus fort et le plus faible devient plus faible. Regardez ce qui se passe pour un pays comme le mien, la France: elle a une fiscalité des entreprises deux fois plus élevée qu’en Allemagne. Elle ne peut pas dévaluer, sinon – elle est dans la zone Euro –, elle doit faire une dévaluation interne. Si elle fait une dévaluation interne pour retrouver de la compétitivité, elle risque le sort de l’Espagne, qui a mis huit ans après sa dévaluation interne pour retrouver le niveau de croissance et de PIB qu’elle avait auparavant. Donc vous voyez, nous sommes dans un jeu de réforme absolument impossible, qui est très grave, au sein de la zone euro.

J’avais proposé une agence d’investissement pour promouvoir, au sud, l’industrie, mais la réalité est actuellement que l’Allemagne s’industrialise de plus en plus ou maintient son industrie et tout les autres pays réduisent leur industrie. À quoi cela conduit-il? À l’endettement et à la crise financière, qui va d’ailleurs être la fin du système, parce que nous approchons de la fin du système, il y aura un effondrement financier.

Donc, vous voyez, vous devez comprendre ce mécanisme interne aux institutions de l’Union européenne qui conduit à cet effondrement financier, car sinon vous rentrez dans deux autres logiques: des transferts du budget de la zone euro – mais avec ces transferts, vous faites des assistés – ou, et c’est ce que vous faites, vous développez l’endettement.

Ceci est la première remarque. La deuxième remarque est hors de la zone euro. Il est évident – et nous, les populistes, avons été les premiers à dénoncer ce problème – qu’il faut garantir la réciprocité. Il n’est pas possible que la Chine mette des droits ... (Le Président retire la parole à l’orateur)


  Monika Smolková (S&D). – Pane předsedající, európske hospodárstvo je v súčasnosti pod silným tlakom. Nachádzame sa uprostred ekonomického súperenia medzi Amerikou a Čínou.

Globálna situácia je ťažko predvídateľná a mnohé priemyselné podniky sa oprávnene pýtajú, ako ich môže Európa pred takýmito vonkajšími faktormi ochrániť. Uznávam, že globalizácia prispela k prepojeniu svetového hospodárstva, otvorila nové príležitosti a mnohých ľudí vymanila z chudoby. Na druhej strane je nevyhnutné, aby sa aj na globálnej úrovni dodržiavali férové pravidlá a princípy spravodlivého obchodu, preto by mala Komisia zvážiť všetky možnosti, ako chrániť naše priemyselné odvetvia a  pracovné miesta, najmä v oblastiach, kde dochádza k dumpingovým a nespravodlivo subvencovaným dovozom. Zároveň je náš priemysel vystavený našim vlastným vnútorným pravidlám, ktoré ho v globálnej konkurencii zväzujú. Európske pravidlá hospodárskej súťaže by preto nemali byť nastavené tak, aby naše podniky na svetovej úrovni znevýhodňovali.

Z týchto dôvodov by mala Komisia urýchlene vypracovať účinnú priemyselnú stratégiu, aby sme znížili zraniteľnosť našich podnikov.


Spontane Wortmeldungen


  José Blanco López (S&D). – Señor presidente, en el momento en que estamos haciendo este debate, en mi país —España—, Alcoa acaba de anunciar el cierre de dos fábricas del sector del aluminio. Esto nos tiene que llevar a reflexionar sobre el papel que tiene que tener la industria europea y sobre la necesidad de que la Comisión presente ya ese plan industrial que tenga como objetivo fortalecer a nuestras empresas; que tenga como objetivo establecer criterios justos para que haya una competencia en igualdad de condiciones; ese plan industrial que tiene que ver cómo toma medidas en contra del dumping que se está produciendo y que es una competencia desleal que nos está abocando a un fracaso como Europa.

Por lo tanto, no podemos quedarnos de brazos cruzados, sobre todo en sectores como la siderurgia y el aluminio, que están sufriendo ese mazazo, que se están debilitando y que están cerrando y en los que estamos perdiendo empleo. Es necesario actuar sin contemplaciones y no quedarse de brazos cruzados.


(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)


  Margrethe Vestager, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, thank you very much for your remarks. I find this is very inspiring because we obviously share the same starting point: that fair competition, a level playing field – this is what we want. We don’t want harmful subsidies to be sort of smuggled in via trade. We don’t want prices to be dumped on us – that’s unfair for European industries.

One thing I think is important in having this discussion, and it is that Europe is the largest economy in the world. Europe is an amazing place to do business. Although growth is slow, it is still the highest GDP per capita, with 500 million Europeans. It’s the world’s largest trading bloc, the largest trader in the world of manufactured goods and services, and we rank first in both inbound and outbound international investments. We are the top trading partner for 80 countries. Just to compare, that figure is only 20 when it comes to the US.

Those facts shouldn’t lead to any kind of leaning back, or being self—absorbed, or think that everything is solved – on the contrary, because I completely agree that we are in times of change. But the important thing is to see what we have achieved in the European way, in strong societies with social benefits, with a tight fabric that allows people to have jobs where they can provide for their families. I think that it’s important that we take all this achievement and put that in our fight for change, for making the market, the industry and globalisation serve citizens. This is why the strategy is so manifold, because I completely agree with what is said by Ms Smolková and Mr Blanco López: that of course we need to work strategically at this. This is why it’s not just a matter of a fair level playing field within the European Union. This is a global effort to make this happen.

I also completely agree with Mr Martin, who says: well, we have to figure out how to enable change so that people feel that they are the masters. Because if we just abandon areas that used to be the home for important industries and workplaces and leave it at that, of course, everyone gets frustrated, because you don’t see your sons and your daughters having a fair chance. And this is why, with the combined efforts of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, things can be put into effect. But it is not just to change, it’s also to maintain and develop our industries. And this is why we do our best to enable Member States to work together on important projects of European interest. Take microelectronics, take the Battery Alliance being built as we speak, because this shows the strength of coming together in Europe when we do things together.

Ms Krupa rightly mentioned all our small and medium—sized businesses. Because when we talk about industry, it’s important not just to think about the giants, but also to think about the many smaller businesses – who are either the customers of giants or the suppliers to giants – to enable the network of European industry to work well. This is why it has been so important in the Juncker investment plan to provide capital for small and medium—sized businesses, because this is one of the most under—debated issues, that you need capital in order to grow. You need access to financing, otherwise, how could you create the jobs. I think that’s a very important point in our discussion that we don’t focus on just the big ones or just the small ones, but see the network that they create and that they have the need for one another. So thank you very much also for mentioning that.

Mr Jakovčić also rightly points to these chains that we’re in. Obviously it’s very important that Europe master the different crafts and that is why it is important when, for instance, shipbuilders come together to figure out how to make sure that we have a competitive shipbuilding industry in Europe to deliver state of the art. There are a number of specific discussions but there are also a number of discussions that are European—wide.

Mr Buchner talks also about trade and I’m very happy to support the work of my colleague, Cecilia Malmström, because what she has done over the last couple of years is basically to retire the old concept of free trade and replace that with a concept of trade agreement, where you actually have tools to say, well, I will not import despicable working conditions or animal welfare that we will not accept here. We want trade also in that to be on an eye-to-eye basis and that is the modern way to proceed. Not just to say trade is just about lowering tariffs. No, trade is also about actually having reciprocity in the way things are done. That is important for us, as the Commission, to enable this environment for European industry to thrive; not just the big ones – and we have big impressive industry in Europe – but also all the smaller ones who are part and parcel of the creation of this Europe that we live in, in which – at this point where we speak – more people than ever have a job. And with all that achievement – and with your engagement and our agreement on a level playing field and fair competition – I am certain that we have what it takes to meet this challenge and to make this change happen for the benefit of citizens and not counter it, because in that I think Mr Martin has the exact point; that this is now where change should be inclusive and not over people’s head, so thank you very much for this.


  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Senaste uppdatering: 8 april 2019Rättsligt meddelande - Integritetspolicy