welding

Just 15% of the European Union’s GDP was represented by industry in 2014. That figure is down from 18% in 2000, and it continues to fall. Europe’s industries are under immense pressure from globalisation and cheap labour overseas. Those industries that remain are increasingly turning to automation, no longer able to guarantee mass employment for low-skilled European labour.

How can Europe turn around its declining industries? In the wake of the Brexit vote, the coming period of volatility and uncertainty will put even more pressure on Europe’s economy. There will be calls to implement protectionist measures to safeguard European industry – but if everybody does that then global trade will suffer, potentially putting an even greater strain on the economy.

We had a comment from Lois, who believes he has the solution. He argues that the EU needs a Europe-wide industrial policy, aimed at boosting innovation. Would this help rescue Europe’s struggling industrial sector?

To get a reaction, we spoke to Paola Fantini, an independent analyst in industrial sustainability and risk governance. How would she respond?

paola-fantiniI believe that we should harmonise top-down initiatives at the European level, as Louis suggests, with initiatives that try to stimulate the unique capabilities of individual regions. Because regions have their own strengths, and whilst their capabilities should be encouraged from the top-down, we also need to give freedom to individuals and small companies in local areas to boost innovation.

For another perspective, we also spoke to Rudolf Frycek, CEO of AMIRES, a consulting company for research, development and innovation projects for industrial clients and the R&D community. We asked him for his thoughts on EU industrial innovation policy. Should it be more co-ordinated across the continent?

RudolfThe immediate answer is: Of course. We need it, because in front of us we have a transformational change towards a digitised economy. This change is happening, and the question is will Europeans profit from it? So there is an immediate need for EU and national officials to continue debating the social impact, and the social benefits, which industrial technologies can bring. And industry needs to have a clear idea about potential new regulations.

So, in the long-run, I think we will see a transformational change in how industry uses materials and other resources, including personnel. In this context, definitely a continent-wide European policy will be more and more necessary.

Does the EU need a Europe-wide industrial policy? How can Europe turn around its declining industries? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Matty Flicks

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Fondazione Cariplo



122 comments Post a commentcomment


    • avatar
      SD

      5 year plans haha ridiculous.

    • avatar
      SD

      Did anybody ever stop to think that things are ok the way they are. And anyways the British just voted to leave among other reasons because they want to shake off EU Fishing Regulations and now someone seriously wants to continue with the top down regulations of things they probably do not understand. NOW IS THE TIME FOR REFLECTION AND DEBATE ABOUT THE EUS PURPOSE AND FUTURE NOT MORE REGULATIONS

  1. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    Unless ‘Europeans’ are prepared to work for the same salary as Chinese worker the decline will continue.

    The only exception is German who has just poster unemployment figures of below 6%, unfortunately this has been achieved at the expense of the other 26 EU members.

    • avatar
      Pablo Ribera Payá

      Czech Republic has a lower unemployment rate. Maybe they also managed at the expense of everyone else.

  2. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Hmmm, sounds like a good idea BUT the EU does not have a great track record when it comes to policies of strategic world-beating innovation.

    • avatar
      György

      Because the underminers have made sure that cheating and mayhem goes on in the name of “national interest”. They are those who complain most later.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @György
      Not just “National Interest”, “Big Business” interest too!

  3. avatar
    José Bessa da Silva

    For the love of god stop speaking about the EU as if it was Europe. And no. The Common Agriculrue and Fishery policies and BCE’s cobtrol over the bsnking system have been utter rubbish and caused damaged to smaller states while benefitting the bigger ones. What the EU needs is to desintegrate

    • avatar
      Tiago Pires

      José Bessa Da Silva, Português? Curioso o teu, e de cada vez mais Portugueses, sentido de agradecimento perante tudo aquilo que o nosso país recebeu, da UE, que é como quem diz, dos países mais ricos ( Que são quem mais contribui para o Orçamento da UE ). Não sei a tua idade, mas, se viveste antes de 86, e se tens algum padrão de comparação entre o nível de vida anterior à adesão e posterior à mesma, certamente chegas a uma conclusão muito honesta: vivemos hoje, muito melhor do que vivíamos antes. Portugal contínua a ser doa países que mais ganhou com a União. Sim, houve alguns aspectos negativos, mas os aspectos positivos, são largamente superiores.

      É uma pena, que, se estamos como estamos, as pessoas prefiram culpar a UE, do que aqueles que verdadeiramente nos levaram por este tão mau caminho: os nossos próprios governantes.

      À excepção de Lisboa, todo o país encontra-se ainda abaixo de 75% da média de desenvolvimento da UE, e por essa razão, a Politica Regional continua a apoiar intensivamente e justificadamente todo o nosso país. Portugal 2020 é o espelho disso.

      Admito também, que a União cometeu e comete muitos erros, mas, peço-te que não confundas a aplicação da ideia, com a ideia em si, porque sem esta ideia, não quero sequer imaginar o quê que era a Europa nos dias de hoje.

  4. avatar
    mister-ede

    In 1992 the decision was to make a monetary and economic Union. But this can’t work without a real common constitution. That is why we have in the moment a bad constructed Eurozone and a missing common industrial policy.

    Before we don’t talk about suggestions like the European Federation ( http://www.mister-ede.de/politik/die-europaeische-foederation/5216 ) as a circle of EU-members with a common constitution inside the EU, we won’t solve these existing problems in the EU.

    • avatar
      Martin

      Hi Mister-ede, I had a look at your website: very interesting concept. Are you planning an English version as well to widen the potential audience?

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      Hi Martin,

      you are right. To have at least an English Version would be good. But I suppose I won’t get it in proper English, so it is not planned so far.

  5. avatar
    Moti Szamo

    the EU only does not want the uncontrolled EU migrants invading rich countries!

  6. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    The EU cannot compete with globalised corporations taking advantage of exploited overseas labour. So the EU can create a fair-trade policy on all imported goods. And a guaranteed minimum income to create more local entrepreneurs, more jobs from earlier retirement choices and parents staying home with young children, and more spending money in peoples pockets so local businesses from restaurants, beauty, hobbies, training can flourish. And a four hour workday to increase jobs. It’s a new world that cannot be fixed. We must adapt.

    • avatar
      otilia abreu

      I agree with you. It is difficult to increase population with the actual income in southern Europe countries, besides most of the jobs do not offer security, there are no long term jobs, so less and less is possible to buy goods, use services like restaurante, beauty, fitness, hairdressers only middle classificação and rich can do that.

  7. avatar
    Giulia Noia Dipresa

    absolutely nope… you cannot have a common policy when EU is the union of MORE different states, each one of them has its industrial characteristics and its forces and weakness… there is no way you can assimilate different system. Each state should be free to choose its own industrial policy according to its needs…

  8. avatar
    nando

    Simple. Factor into the GDP the cost of poverty, of unemployment, of job insecurity, and you have an economic equation that approaches reality. Companies and governments can then figure out how to operate in this new model.
    And so, the following should be factored against the GDP:
    – revenues to companies that provide unemployment insurance,
    – revenues from companies that move jobs overseas creating unemployment,
    – revenues from police equipment manufacturers,
    – revenues from anxiety drug manufacturing,
    – revenues from companies cleaning up the environment…
    … I am sure there are many others.
    This is not new. The http://www.neweconomics.org/ among others have been promoting this type of thinking.

  9. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    The TTIP will be the finishing shot to the industry.
    One of the biggest competitive disadvantage the EU has compared to the USA is the higher cost of energy — and it’s crucial for industry.
    TTIP negotiations were even kind enough to skip the issue of sustainability and CO2 emissions as well as CO2 quotas. Our darling leaders are arranging for the death of industry in Europe.
    One possible way to avoid the collapse is to have more robotics: which means massive layoffs, unemployment, and even more profits to the oligarchs.

  10. avatar
    Iannis Boun

    Sure, if wages are RAISED to all EU countries to the average of the EU wages, sure let’s have European wide industrial policy. But not TTIP! THAT’S A SCAM of the rich oligarch tyrants of the US and EU

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      Less human rights? Less freedom of movement? Less Erasmus-Program?

      We sure need another EU, I suggest the European Federation for more flexibility in Europe, but we don’t need less EU.

    • avatar
      György

      Cause more uncoordinated mayhem where everybody cheats on everybody in the name of “national interest” would be so much better…

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Ingo Vonsundahl
      Correct.

      Less lying, less cheating, less corruption!

  11. avatar
    Dario Fè

    Do our leaders actually read these messages?
    Is there a place where we can read their answer to this topic?
    Have they ever answered to a comment posted on this website?

  12. avatar
    Andrej Němec

    Develop Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. A robot can work better and more efficiently than 20 Chinese people.

  13. avatar
    Μάρκος Κουντουρούδας

    European workers living with Chinese-Slave salaries without Human Rights and without Social welfare…Ha hahhaaa…Only in Your Dreams ! Wake-Up and get the Rich pay their Taxes and not to “Park” their money to fiscal paradises. And, also, stop growing wealthier the rich and gangsters people with toxic bank and fund products. Then we can make a serious debate about Development.

    • avatar
      otilia abreu

      No offshores. Everybody has the same obligations to pay tax, and so can have the right to have health care in the público system. Full use of the laws for rich and poor. There is no future for EU if there are no changes in the actual laws, if there are less advantages why staying in it ???

  14. avatar
    György

    Environmental technologies should be focused on to reindustrialize Europe.

  15. avatar
    Patrik Sjögren

    Declining industries? I know lots of Swedish companies that are bringing back production to Sweden…

  16. avatar
    Thalis Papaefthimiou

    Η ΕΕ εχει πολλες χωρες που κατασκευαζουν τα παντα και δεν εχει αναγκη να κανει εισαγωγες σε ειδη που κατασκευαζονται στην ΕΕ. Συνεπως η ΕΕ ανετα μπορει να αυξησει τους δασμους στο υψος των αμερικανικων ωστε να μην επιτρεπει περιφερειακες βιομηχανιες σε αλλες χωρες να κερδιζουν σε βαρος των παραγωγων της ΕΕ. Καλο θα ηταν μαλιστα να γινει και καποιος οργανισμος ο οποιος θα διευκολυνει τις χωρες της ΕΕ να βρισκουν τα διαφορα προιοντα που κατασκευαζονται στην ΕΕ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Thalis Papaefthimiou
      One slight problem, the RoW would impose tariffs too and thus countries like Germany will automatically be in severe trouble!

    • avatar
      György

      What would that help industry with?

  17. avatar
    Andrea Brown

    Copy what MITI (Ministry International Trade Industry) was in Japan from 1960 until 1980.

  18. avatar
    Joaquim Levy

    A Europa só retorna à ‘senda do progresso’ quando sepultar a, agora moribunda, “mal ‘dita’ UE”…

  19. avatar
    György

    Incorporating a limited liability company in Europe should have the same conditions and methods everywhere. Currently in Hungary ( a poor country) one needs 8 thousand euros as minimum share ( starting capital) by law and than they wonder why are they so poor. We have to encourage the ” try and if you fail try again” attitude towards entrepreneurship. It has to be easy, low cost and low financial risk.

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      @György
      And on the other end we need a common taxation for big companies. Profits have to be fair taxed.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @George
      You can set up one inIreland for less than £100 instead.

  20. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Of course we need to have a different attitude towards globalism. Why we should open our borders to Asian goods with 3 and 6% custom duties when China starts their custom duties at 90%? Where is the fair trade?

  21. avatar
    Alain Rak

    Europeans need to stop Merkel-Juncker-Hollande taking decisions for us. They should retire in their countries and the real European decisions must be taken by the pele no more by dictators. So stop immediately to bring Muslims to our countries. We need work for our people and bringing other people working for less money will only increase jobless economics.

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      Merkel, Juncker and Hollande are elected. Instead of calling them dictators, you should learn more about democracy and the EU.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Mister-Ede
      I don’t recall voting for Juncker?

      Juncker didn’t even bother to visit the 2nd biggest net EU contributor [the UK] nor indeed London the richest city in the EU during the last EU elections.

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      @Tarquin Farquhar

      The majority of the European Parliament voted for him. And why should only London tourists be able to become President of the Commission?

    • avatar
      Gyorgy

      Mr Tarquin,

      that’s because 1) The UK was the fourth largest contributor to the EU 2) You also don’t recall voting for Cameron or for the next PM or for any of the ministers/high civil servants in the government. Your home brewed, primitive unprofessional knowledge is the problem.

    • avatar
      Martin

      As some already pointed out: Merkel, Juncker and Hollande are not dictators, but came to power through a democratic process. Still, you can say, they should be elected directly. However, that is probably only part of the issue. Do you agree, that the European Parliament has full democratic legitimation? This is not true, however, for the European Commission. Ironically, Juncker – in his role as its president – has the most democratic legitimation among the members of the commission, since he got elected by the parliament. The other members are proposed by the members states and can only be rejected or accepted by the parliament. I also think that “election” of the members of the European Commission needs to be changed. But the worst problem is that the leaders of the member states (European Council) have more power that the parliament and/or the commission. That leads to a situation where a single powerful member state can block agreements and has huge hidden and informal power. That might be the reason why you perceive Merkel as dictator. I would propose to 1) shift power from the European Council to the parliament and commission, 2) change the election process of the members of the commission and 3) encourage direct democracy at all levels (for instance let’s vote on TTIP).

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      @Martin
      The central point is, that in a democracy the parliament has the right to change the constitution. But in the EU the governments decide about the treaty.

      What the EU needs, is a real common constitution. If not all EU-Members want to take part, then we need an inner circle, the European Federation.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Gyorgy
      Please provide the source of your dubious statistics!

      FTR c42% of the EU population voted in the last EU elections and that includes those that voted against the EU.

      Surely a president gets directly voted for by the people – look at the USE or France for example.

      If Juncker could not be bothered to visit the UK in an EU elections year that is not only rude but it also contemptuous of the 2nd biggest EU net contributor and the 3rd biggest EU population.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Gyorgy
      David Cameron the UK Prime Minister is NOT the head of state. What is your foolish point?!

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Martin
      Some good ideas BUT flawed by the fact that many EU countries have democracies I do NOT want to pool my democracy with.

      You know the ones – corrupt, historically and currently and prone to dictatorship.

    • avatar
      Martin

      @Tarquin
      Interesting point, even though I don’t share this concern. Maybe because my home country is on your black list. Still, I wonder whether there are some countries in the EU that you would feel comfortable to share your democracy with.

    • avatar
      Martin

      @Mister-Ede
      I’ve read about it on your website: I agree with you.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Martin
      Yes there are EU countries I would not fear pooling UK democracy with.

      Interesting to note that you do not see any downside issues for the UK with a democratically inept country [like perhaps, maybe yours?] be allowed to have a say in the UK’s democracy,

      To cap it all such countries get paid by my country to actually be in the EU club I mean gang!

      One of the myriad of downside issues for the UK I see would relate to the EU manifesting an EU-wide industrial policy which would typically favour said basketcase countries at the expense of the UK’s poorer regions.

    • avatar
      mister-ede

      @Tarquin Farquhar

      1. You often have strong centers and weak regions in a country – in USA, in Russia, in China, in South Africa, in Brazil. That’s a problem, but really not an EU-Problem. And weak regions getting support from the EU. This is a big difference to many other parts of the world.

      2. There is also a transfer out of the UK. But the profit of being EU-Member and part of the single market is much higher for the UK than this transfer. Especially if you know, that the UK only pays a third.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Mister-Ede
      Please provide sources for your incorrect dubious statistics.

    • avatar
      mr-ede

      @Tarquin Farquhar

      Look at the interest burden quota. It is much lower since the introduction of the Euro.

  22. avatar
    György

    We don’t bring them, the reality is that we can’t stop them in these numbers because border control agencies are not equipped for these numbers and southern countries feel left alone. We have to have a European southern external border to deal with this.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @György
      ‘Them’ you are talking about HUMAN BEINGS. Please respect them!

  23. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    EU:- brakeit- fixit- modularit or breakit- exitit. Trade: do it- increase it- 47 will be it. Corporatism: stopit- evictit- abolishit- democratiseit- sendit- equaliseit- parliamentarianiseit. Direct democracy:- doit- bringit, speedit- e-it. Unemployment rates: cutit, reduceit. Transparency, accountability& responsibility: do it, don’t talkit, don’t fakeit, don’t play it. Youth: don’t brainwashit, trainit, useit.

    Either you doit- otherwise we EU breakit & exitit. Understandit? Simplyfyit!

    • avatar
      Gyorgy

      Just another pseudo-constructive English bullshit, with a very clear hidden agenda.

  24. avatar
    Martin

    I think the EU could set some incentives or guidelines. However, each member state could also do it independently. In other words: Europe needs a strategy to re-industrialize. Whether the initiative takes place on the level of each member state or on the level of the EU is irrelevant.
    I think, that a part of this strategy needs to be focused on software industry. Europe lags behind the US in this respect. Just look at who is dominating the industry:
    Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc. All of them are based in the US. We MUST catch up if we want to keep and create jobs.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Martin
      I think the EU will be hard-pushed to create a corporate super power like those in the USA.

      The EU needs to do something, a Europe-wide industrial policy will not work. Such a policy needs to be focused in the big 4 EU nations.

    • avatar
      Martin

      @Tarquin
      As I said, whether it is done by the EU or on the level of members states is not relevant.
      Concerning the creation of corporate super power you mention a real threat. However, this is not in issue related to the EU. As you already mentioned, in the US this problem is obvious. Still, measures have to be taken to prevent that. Generally, today’s interconnected (partly liberal) countries unleashed economic potential that lead to structures and corporations that are richer and more powerful that the countries themselves. One promising recipe to deal with that is direct democracy like in Switzerland.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Martin
      You seem to be blissfully unaware of the power wielded by corporate superpowers ALL over Europe – very strange!

  25. avatar
    João Machado

    No! No more global/big policies! Europeans want national democracy instead. Can you do that for a change? No? So go away EU, we don’t want you..

  26. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    Who is going to pay the increased salaries of the new EU wide workforce ?, its just pie in the sky..

    Germany will continue to get rich at the expense of the rest of the EU.

  27. avatar
    Jean-Pierre Rosa

    More urgent: a science policy in order to foment technology. You can’t have industrialism without progress.

    On a side note: mechanization / automation will render man made production obsolete.

  28. avatar
    Anthie Georgiadi

    Definitely yes! Deindustrializing Europe and turning it into a service-providing economy is one of the many reasons why our economies are failing. But doesn’t an EU-wide industrial policy necessarily mean that we have to stop exploiting the heck out of China and start buying the commodities we ourselves produce?

  29. avatar
    Uli Czeranka

    yes we need. Since ever the North managed to advance on cost of the South. We see now what this brought us. If we really are an economic, political and monetary union we need to shape an enviroment, where countries do not compete against each other but allow each to gain.

  30. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Funny thing because in the 90-ties east europe was industrialized but had no market economy. Now we have market economy but we are de- industrialized.

  31. avatar
    カメニャク マリオ

    I am fine with that. We can’t import everything from China. Sure, some of us will say that this is just the migration to 3rd tier jobs, which it is But in the mean time the most unemployment comes from industrial workers that lost their jobs. We should give those workers a safe haven until they can retire and the heavy industries can further automatize themselves.

    • avatar
      Bódis Kata

      The EU needs more balanced trading terms with China. China has too much advantage over production in the EU and it’s not just because of the cheaper labor. >> The artificially low value of the China’s currency and the completely imbalanced terms of trade have just as much to do with it.

  32. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    .

    Only a fool would put industrial policy in the hands of the same people who created the migrant crisis, the Euro crisis, the banking crisis, the agricultural crisis & the democratic deficit crisis while heaping misery onto millions of people across the EU.

  33. avatar
    George Ferentinos

    Of course! It does!!!!if industrial production is concentrated in a few countries or regions !there will be no real economic integration!!!without economic integration and wide-shared economic and incom growth, there will be no citizen political integration!!!!there will be no united europe!!!!that’s for sure!!!we see the results of the economic crisis ans inequalities unfolding across europe!!??

  34. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    Everything, especially social policies should be the same EU-wide otherwise what is the point of the EU except as a tool to increase profits for the rich?

  35. avatar
    Luis García

    Great question, just when IT inteligence is arisen in every kind of work, and workers will be unnecessary. Right now, this proces is starting. See Japon. See Usa.

    • avatar
      Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

      Nope. Look at work done on this by UNCTAD, UNIDO or individuals like David Autor from MIT. Jobs differ highly in the degree to which they can be automated and especially for jobs requiring mobility, adaptation and specialist knowledge most jobs are several decades away from becoming fully automated.

  36. avatar
    René Aga

    Forbid imports from countries with inhuman working conditions, which is unfair competition😠

    • avatar
      Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

      Yes, how dare those workers choose to work in inhuman working conditions. Let’s ban imports from these countries and help these workers enjoy the prosperity of subsistence agriculture once again.

  37. avatar
    Lyle W Garrett

    The EU being a means of mediation for different countries to communicate and committee, I would say yes.As their place is to encourage, communicate, and influence a wide range of democratic initiatives.

  38. avatar
    Rácz Tivadar

    Don’t make any minds about the eu-future. The agony of obamonkey is peaking into a prepare for war, after that we all would start with wooden scratchers for soil and being happy to have survived.

  39. avatar
    Pavel Lampa

    NUTS2 regions are really different within EU. One regulation / support scheme will not fit. What can be done (and is done) is support of knowledge transfer in Industry 4.0 which is done under DG connect. The industry might not rise by employment number but by volume of production.

  40. avatar
    Bob L.

    The regional differences in economical strength impose great challenges for the execution of the Industrial policy. A one size fits all model will most likely be unsuccessful. Especially the Member States’ border regions impose challenges as those local economies in general are lacking behind (Even on their national levels). These areas need to be boosted most, also because great opportunities are there, such as cross border partnerships. Cross border partnerships would embody the EU’s vision, investing in weaker regions now, will lead to the execution of the deeper EU ideology tomorrow.

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