European expert group on clusters meeting: contributing to industrial policy
On 18 October 2019, 33 private and public sector experts of the European Commission's expert group on clusters met in Brussels. They had initial discussions on how to better use clusters as a strategic industrial policy tool.
Slawomir Tokarski, Director for Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, opened the expert group on clusters' inaugural meeting. He underlined the group’s work in light of the new industrial strategy, SME strategy and the European green deal taking centre stage in the next Commission's political guidelines.
During the meeting, experts flagged their main areas of interests:
- using clusters to address societal challenges and boost digitalisation
- skills for industry
- efficiently selecting and supporting new and established clusters to reach out to SMEs
During the interactive group discussions, they also discussed blind spots and synergies.
Furthermore, representatives from 6 different Commission services gave the experts an overview of cluster-related EU initiatives. The presentations covered
- joint cluster initiatives proposed under the draft single market programme
- the new objectives of the Cohesion Policy, Interreg and smart specialisation
- the Horizon Europe Programme with the European Innovation Council, missions and investments for innovation ecosystems
- the Structural Reform Support Service and
- examples of a thematic use of clusters for maritime cluster initiatives and the low-carbon business actions
The expert group consists of 23 governmental experts nominated by EU countries and 10 individual experts selected through a public call that attracted 145 applications. The individual experts comprise cluster managers, practitioners from SME intermediaries and business support organisations, and representatives of regional or local public authorities or agencies.
Launching the expert group is partly a result of previous discussions under the European cluster policy forum and increased EU country interest in clusters. The Conclusions of the Council of the EU of March 2018 and May 2019 called, for instance, for the 'further development of European cluster policy' and highlighted that 'clusters are key for the implementation of the EU industrial policy strategy'.
The expert group will identify best practices, opportunities, barriers and needs for the next generation of cluster related projects. This includes improving synergies at and between EU, national and regional levels. By the end of 2020, the group will deliver a report with recommendations on improving the use of clusters as a strategic industrial policy tool, interregional collaboration and SMEs' integration into EU and global value chains.
The next meeting will take place on 6 February 2020.
See more on the expert group on clusters
The article was published on 28/10/2019 on ec.europa.eu website here. © European Union, 1995-2019