European Industrial Policy

Industry in the EU

Industry in the EU makes up more than 20% of the EU’s economy and employs around 35 million people, with many millions more jobs linked to it at home and abroad. It accounts for 80% of goods exports and is a key reason behind the EU’s position as top global provider and destination for foreign direct investment. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) account for the vast majority of all European firms and are our economic and social backbone.

Europe’s industry is integrated across value chains and borders and retains a global competitive advantage on high value-added products and services.

A New Industrial Strategy for Europe

On 10th March 2020 the European Commission presented A New Industrial Strategy for Europe, which sets out the EU industrial vision by 2030 and beyond.

The key objectives are the green and digital transitions, as well as the EU strategic autonomy in a number of strategic areas.

In the green transition the EU wants to be the world leader by creating the first carbon-neutral continent in the world by 2050 through clean technologies and market leadership that sets global standards.

In the Commission’s view, the twin green and digital transitions will be achieved through some inter-connected and mutually reinforcing enablers such as a deeper and more digital single market, a levelled global playing field and a focus on circularity, innovation and skills. An adequate amount of funding, both public and private, is envisaged to support industry in the transition.

A novelty of the new industrial strategy is the focus on industrial ecosystems. Ecosystems take into account all players within a value chain. Another focus are the industrial alliances which will help finance large-scale projects with positive spill-over effects across Europe, using the knowledge of SMEs, big companies, researchers and regions to help remove barriers to innovation and improve policy coherence.

The position of the European construction equipment industry

The European construction equipment industry welcomes the new industrial strategy of the European Commission as the sector has embarked on its green and digital transformation since several years.

Indeed, the industry has gone to great lengths in curbing emissions and with the entry into force of Stage V regulation, the road will be complete with an overall 95% reduction in emissions of harmful pollutants in less than 15 years. This technological development is a reason of pride for CECE members that have been investing heavily in new engine and machine manufacturing. These new machines are being proposed to potential clients and will soon prove their worth to justify new investments by contractors and rental companies.

Digital technologies such as connectivity, automation and precision data have made great strides in our sector, delivering significant efficiency and productivity gains, reducing energy consumption, emissions and waste as well as improving workers’ safety and overall sustainability. The digital components are now an integral part of the European construction machines.

Being at the forefront of innovation implies a high competitiveness of the European industry on a global scale. We welcome an industrial strategy which sets this competitiveness as a key goal of EU’s policies. As a matter of fact, the European construction machinery companies manufacture in Europe 20% of the global output of construction equipment.

CECE contribution for an ambitious EU industrial policy

CECE believes that a strong EU industrial policy is key to foster industrial competitiveness in Europe. Only an industrial policy at EU level can overcome the risk of fragmentation caused by different national policies. For this reason, CECE has been for long involved in several initiatives in support of the EU industry.

CECE is an active partner of Industry4Europe, a large and unprecedented coalition of 156 organisations from across the EU and spanning most sectors of the economy, dedicated to campaigning for an ambitious EU industrial strategy.

CECE is also a member of the European Forum for Manufacturing (EFM), which has been drawing the attention of the European political leadership on the importance of the European manufacturing sector through a continuous programme of roundtable debates.

More importantly, since the beginning of the campaign for the 2019 EU elections, CECE has been promoting the establishment of a European Parliament Intergroup on industrial competitiveness and that was a key element of the 2019 CECE Manifesto. After the elections and over the last months of 2019 CECE has led the final stage of the advocacy campaign.

In early 2020, CECE’s commitment yielded the desired results. Indeed, the “Sustainable, Long Term Investments & Competitive European Industry” Intergroup was officially announced at the constitutive meeting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Intergroup aims to serve as a forum for discussion on the multifaceted dimensions of long term and sustainable investments, and of a comprehensive EU industrial policy over the EU 2019-2024 term. It provides Members of the European Parliament with an efficient horizontal tool on industry and long-term investments supporting their activities in their relevant committees.

CECE is actively involved in the Secretariat of the Intergroup with Orgalim, a coalition of National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs) as well as the European Long-Term Investors Association (ELTI). In this role, CECE is contributing to the day-to-day management of the Intergroup and coordinating the proposals from the Partners in order to articulate the annual Intergroup work programme.