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New EU industrial strategy: the challenges to tackle

MEPs want the EU's future industrial strategy to help businesses survive the Covid-19 crisis and face the digital and environmental transitions. Find out how.

European enterprises have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, as many have had to shut or reduce their workforce while finding new ways to work within new restrictive measures. Before making the necessary digital and green transitions,  industry  in the EU needs to recover from the pandemic.

During the November plenary, MEPs are set to reiterate their call for the European Commission to revise its March 2020 proposal on the EU's new industrial strategy. In a draft report adopted on 16 October, the members of the industry, research and energy committee demanded a shift in the EU approach to industrial policy in the wake of the pandemic by helping businesses cope with the crisis and face the digital and environmental transitions.

How the Parliament foresees the EU's industry landscape

Industry represents more than 20% of the EU’s economy and employs about 35 million people, with many millions more jobs linked to it at home and abroad. In addition it accounts for 80% of goods exports. The EU is also a top global provider and destination for foreign direct investment.

In the context of the new industrial strategy, the EU should enable companies to contribute to its climate-neutrality targets - as outlined in the Green Deal roadmap - support firms, particularly small and medium enterprises in the transition to a digital and carbon-neutral economy and help create high-quality jobs, without undermining the EU’s competitiveness.

According to MEPs; such a strategy should consist orf two phases: a recovery phase to consolidate jobs, reactivate production and adapt to a post-Covid period; followed by reconstruction and industrial transformation.

Read about the main EU measures to kick-start the economic recovery.

Empowering smaller firms to achieve sustainable growth

Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the EU economy, accounting for more than 99% of all European business. The industrial strategy should focus on them, as many have contracted debts due to national coronarivus measures, reducing their investment capacity, which is likely to trigger sluggish growth in the long-term.

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