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European Commission and OECD publish recommendations to help EU countries and regions achieve industrial transition

The European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) present a report on an initiative launched in 2017 to help 12 EU regions and Member States achieve industrial transition and hold their own a globalised economy.

Commission experts diagnosed what was holding back job creation and growth in these areas. They worked with national and regional authorities on long-term development strategies based on their areas of competitive strength – their ‘smart specialisation’ assets. These strategies encompassed social fairness, economic modernisation and climate ambitions. Based on this experience, the experts included in the report a toolkit for national and regional authorities, giving concrete solutions to address obstacles to industrial transition along five main priorities.

Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, Enlargement Negotiations and Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: “Prosperity and well-being at EU level start in our regions. For two years, teams of Commission experts have worked hand in hand with national and local actors to help them embrace innovation, decarbonisation, digitalisation and develop the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. These are the four cardinal points of a transition that gives a fair chance to everyone.”

Here are the five main priorities identified by the Commission and examples of related policy challenges and responses:

  • Preparing for the jobs of tomorrow

Challenge: Lack of skilled workers for emerging economic sectors.

Policy responses: anticipate skills needs for industrial transition; strengthen companies’ capacity to address their human resource needs internally; involve local stakeholders in the planning and design of regional skills initiatives.

  • Broadening and diffusing innovation

Challenge: Lack of innovation capacity in small and medium businesses

Policy responses: accelerate the digital transformation; expand business innovation networks and support clusters; strengthen links between academia and local business spheres.

  • Promoting entrepreneurship and private sector engagement

Challenge: Limited access to entrepreneurship skills and networks for start-ups and scale-ups

Policy responses: support entrepreneurs with information, training, coaching and mentoring, strengthen entrepreneurial networks, increase start-up and SME participation in collaborative research

  • Transitioning towards a climate-neutral economy

Challenge: Reconciling the long-term dimension of a climate-neutral transition with short-term economic action

Policy responses: foster local energy transitions through financial support schemes; integrate the transition to a climate-neutral economy into larger regional development strategies

  • Promoting inclusive growth

Challenge: Spatial discrepancies and territorial linkages

Policy responses: encourage territorial co-operation through rural-urban partnerships; ensure digital connectivity and digital services in remote regions

This report and its recommendations will feed into the preparation of the future 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programmes, under which more than €90 billion of funding is available for research, innovation and support to small and medium businesses. 

More information

The article was published on 14/11/2019 on ec.europa.eu website here.  © European Union, 1995-2019