EU seeks to tackle industrial decline, high energy costs
EU nations will be left far behind the US unless they address high energy costs that are worsening the continent’s industrial decline, the European Commission said on Wednesday (25 September).
To tackle the issue the Commission, the EU executive, is preparing a policy document later this year followed by an EU summit in February 2014 focused on industry.
Enterprise and industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani said part of the answer is an industrial compact “to address high energy prices, difficult access to credit, a drop in investments, lack of skills and red tape”.
He drew a comparison with the fiscal compact signed in March 2012 by 25 EU leaders with a view to forcing euro zone countries to keep their budgets in surplus or balanced.
Economic output generated by EU industry has fallen to 15.1% of GDP from 15.5% last year, short of the 20% informal goal the European Union should aim for by 2020, the Commission said in its 2013 report on industrial competitiveness.
“The Commission has taken several initiatives to address high energy prices, difficult access to credit, drop in investments, lacking skills, and red tape. And we will come forward later this autumn with an industrial initiative to go further and boost action in this field,” Tajani said, announcing fresh proposals “in the next few weeks”.
In a new industrial policy strategy unveiled a year ago, Tajani declared the aim to raise industrial activity to 20% of EU gross domestic product by 2020, compared to 16% today, taking it back up to pre-crisis levels.
The strategy set out six priorities for short-term action: advanced manufacturing technologies, key enabling technologies, bio-based products, construction and raw materials, clean vehicles, and smart grids.
In: Environment & Energy