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European Union’s New Industrial Strategy Package supports industry to lead on the digital and green transitions

On 10 March the European Commission published a set of policy documents putting forward a renewed industrial policy. The policy package consists of a New Industrial Strategy for Europe, an SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe, a report on identifying and addressing barriers to the single market, and an Action Plan for better implementation and Enforcement of the single market rules. The package will be completed with the adoption of a new Circular Economy Action Plan on 11 March. The policy package poses a number of opportunities and challenges for businesses across Europe, including those involved in clusters, and provides a clear direction for the EU.

The Industrial Strategy sets out how industry plays a vital role in supporting Europe’s economic growth and prosperity. The Industrial Strategy is about supporting industry to lead on the green and digital transitions and stay competitive at a time of geopolitical uncertainty. Key concepts include incentivising innovation to make the most of economies of scale, speed and scope, and encouraging place-based innovation and experimentation to allow regions to develop and test new solutions with SMEs and consumers, drawing on their local characteristics, strengths and specialisms. Solutions can be scaled-up to European and global markets, ensuring the EU remains a frontrunner.

The strategy also notes that Europe needs to look closely at the opportunities and challenges facing industrial ecosystems. These ecosystems encompass all players operating in a value chain: from the smallest start-ups to the largest companies, from academia to research, service providers to suppliers.

The European Commission have published a number of supporting documents which help explain the Industrial Strategy. This includes a factsheet and questions and answers all of which provide a useful overview of the strategy’s key points.

The SME Strategy will support the 25 million SMEs in Europe who are seen as an essential part of the EU economy. The Strategy recognises that SMEs play a key role in every sector of the economy, and particularly welcomes their ability to bring innovative solutions to challenges like climate change, resource efficiency and social cohesion, and to spread this innovation throughout the economy across Europe’s regions. The SME Strategy is aligned to the achievement of the EU Industrial Strategy through three pillars: capacity-building and support for the transition to sustainability and digitalisation; reducing regulatory burden and improving market access; and improving access to financing. The Strategy will also support and interlink SME intermediaries such as clusters, EEN and EREK to help upskill staff of SMEs in the area of sustainability.

You can find all of the policy documents and factsheets on the European Commission’s website here.  © European Union, 1995-2020