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Wednesday, 5 July 2017 - Strasbourg
Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe

European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2017 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), 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 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular to Article 5(3) TEU and to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

–  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 15 January 2014 on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability(1),

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

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

–  having regard to President Juncker’s Political Guidelines entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’,

–  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(2),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 15 December 2016 and of 23 June 2017,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Industrial Competitiveness Agenda, on the digital transformation of European industry and on the ‘Digital Single Market Technologies and Public Services Modernisation’ package,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an industrial policy for the globalised era(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 April 2016 on Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market (COM(2016)0180),

–  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 Paris Agreement, ratified by the European Parliament on 4 October 2016,

–  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, accounting for over half Europe’s exports and around 65 % of research and development investments, and providing more than 50 million jobs (both directly and indirectly), meaning 20 % of jobs in Europe;

B.  whereas the contribution of the European manufacturing industry to the EU’s GDP has decreased from 19 % to less than 15,5 % during the last 20 years and its contribution to jobs and investment in research and development has declined during that period;

C.  whereas the strengthening of our industrial base is therefore essential to keeping expertise and know-how in the EU;

D.  whereas EU policy needs to enable European industry to preserve its competitiveness and capacity to invest in Europe and to address social and environmental challenges, including climate change, while remaining a leader in social and environmental responsibility;

E.  whereas the circular economy can have a highly positive impact on the reindustrialisation of Europe and on lowering energy consumption and dependence on raw materials coming from third countries, and whereas investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency is an important driver for the promotion of industrial renewal capable of creating virtuous circles;

F.  whereas an ambitious innovation policy which favours the production of high-quality, innovative and energy-efficient products and promotes sustainable processes will enable the EU to strengthen its competitiveness in the world; whereas innovation and investment in R&D, jobs and skill renewal are essential for sustainable growth; whereas innovative industry depends strongly on the EU’s research capacity, research progress and collaborative research in particular;

G.  whereas European industry, both large- and small-scale, faces global competition and whereas an integrated and functioning internal market and open and fair trade with third countries is essential for EU industry, where fair trade in industrial products must respect EU standards;

H.  whereas small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for a large majority of European companies and represent the backbone of EU industries, are facing major challenges due to global changes in the economy and financial and administrative barriers;

I.  whereas female entrepreneurs represent only 31 % of the EU self-employed population and 30 % of start-up entrepreneurs, and are currently under-represented in industry, in particular in scientific, engineering and management posts;

J.  whereas more than 60 % of all enterprises today are family-run businesses and provide up to 50 % of all private sector jobs in the European Union;

K.  whereas the support strategy for the digitalisation of industry is essential for the competitiveness of the European economy;

L.  whereas EU financing instruments and programmes play a strategic role in fostering competitiveness and in attracting investment in the EU and preventing its leakage;

1.  Underlines the essential role of industry as a driver for sustainable growth, employment and innovation in Europe;

2.  Emphasises the importance of strengthening and modernising the industrial base in Europe, while recalling the EU’s target of ensuring that 20 % of Union GDP is based on industry by 2020;

3.  Calls on the Commission to develop, by early 2018, together with the Member States, a Union strategy and an action plan for a consistent and comprehensive industrial policy aimed at Europe’s reindustrialisation, with targets, indicators, measures and time scales; calls on the Commission to base this strategy on an assessment of the impact of mainstreaming industrial policy into EU strategic policy initiatives and extensive dialogue with relevant stakeholders and to take account of industrial competitiveness and sustainability across all its major policy initiatives; highlights the fact that this Union strategy must be based inter alia on digitalisation, on an energy- and resource-efficient economy and on a life-cycle and circular economy approach;

4.  Believes that the European regulatory framework and public and private investment should enable industries to adapt to the changes concerned and to take anticipatory action, in order to contribute to job creation, growth, regional convergence and territorial cohesion;

5.  Highlights the role of SMEs as the backbone of EU industry and stresses the need to reinforce strong value-chains between SMEs, mid-caps and larger enterprises, and the need to pursue an EU industrial policy in an SME-compatible way that addresses the challenges they face; underlines the need to support the creation of a business-friendly environment by establishing a level playing field for all EU SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups, young entrepreneurship, in particular in the most innovative areas, and social economy enterprises;

6.  Stresses that the competitiveness clusters, business networks and digital innovation hubs are a very useful solution for bringing together relevant stakeholders; calls for the EU to support public investment in innovation, as it is strategic in this domain; asks the Commission to support these clusters and their cooperation at European level, ensuring the involvement of SMEs, research centres and universities at regional and local level; calls on the Commission to develop smart specialisation platforms encouraging intersectoral and interdisciplinary links; stresses the need to strengthen interregional cooperation in order to develop transnational opportunities and transversal innovation alliances;

7.  Calls on the Commission to identify the challenges and obstacles that women face in becoming entrepreneurs, and to promote and support women’s leadership and ways to tackle inequalities in salary and access to job positions;

8.  Is convinced that European industry should be seen as a strategic asset for the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU; underlines the fact that only a strong and resilient industry and a future-oriented industrial policy will enable the EU to face the different challenges ahead, including its sustainable reindustrialisation, global competition, rapid technological progress and the creation of quality employment;

9.  Highlights the importance of the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market, the Digital Agenda and Europe’s connectivity through adequate, future-proof and efficient infrastructure;

10.  Stresses the importance for the EU of supporting the qualitative rise of European products through reindustrialisation processes, notably through research and digitalisation, in order to improve competitiveness in Europe;

11.  Underlines that, in order to support the Union’s industry in facing the challenges of rapid economic and regulatory changes in today’s globalised world, it is essential to enhance Europe’s industrial attractiveness for European and foreign direct investment;

12.  Stresses the importance of the timely adoption of a Union industrial strategy and recalls, in this context, the necessity of keeping sufficient financial means for the industry sector in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), in particular through the specific instruments and funds (such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and COSME);

13.  Recalls the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement; calls for the integration into the EU industrial strategy of effective financing instruments and measures to help decrease carbon risk and tackle the risks of carbon leakage;

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

15.  Stresses the need to reduce administrative burdens and compliance costs for businesses, including family businesses, while ensuring the effectiveness of EU legislation on consumer, health and safety and environmental protection;

16.  Underlines the importance for EU industry of open and fair international trade based on common rules and a level playing field; calls for more consistency between trade policy and industrial policy in order to prevent incoherence, which could lead to relocations and further deindustrialisation in the EU;

17.  Stresses the need to prevent EU trade policy from fostering anti-competitive practices; emphasises the need for a consistent WTO-compatible and effective anti-dumping and anti-subsidies strategy for the EU;

18.  Stresses that European industry faces global competition, and therefore calls on the Commission to assess the adequacy of market definitions and the current set of EU competition rules to take into account the evolution of respective global markets and the emergence of the role of major national players in third countries;

19.  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;

20.  Calls on the Commission, together with the Member States, to screen third country FDI in the EU in strategic industries, infrastructure and key future technologies, or other assets that are important in the interests of security and protection of access to them, while bearing in mind that Europe depends to a large extent on FDI;

21.  Emphasises the need for coordinated EU efforts, with consultation of all relevant partners, including social partners and academia, to pursue the promotion of new skills as well as retraining, up-skilling and life-long learning, as advocated by the Commission in its Agenda for New Skills and Jobs;

22.  Recalls the important role of EU standardisation and advocates a strong focus on the EU’s leading role in international standards organisations;

23.  Takes note of the need to coordinate EU efforts towards reducing resource dependency on third countries through a four-pronged focus on:

   a. fair international market access to resources
   b. sustainable mining
   c. efficiency-technology innovations
   d. the circular economy;

24.  Underlines that a new industrial policy strategy must align different policy areas with industrial policy – most importantly trade, environment, research, health, investment, competition, energy, climate and creative industries – to form one coherent approach;

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

(1) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 89.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0377.
(3) OJ C 199E, 7.7.2012, p. 131.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0240.

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