On 16 May, President of the European Commission (EC) Manuel Barroso stressed the importance of the EU industry in reviving productivity growth in Europe. Barroso spoke in the eleventh European Business Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
According to the President of the EC, the EU industry (foods, drinks, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, machinery etc.) contributes 75 per cent of EU exports, 80 per cent of private investment in research and innovation and around 75 million jobs. Barroso stressed that the food, drinks and pharmaceutical industries have already returned to pre-crisis levels, but other sectors such as manufacturing and machinery are still trying to rebound.
Since EU industry is playing a major role in Europe, Barroso highlighted that the EU’s objective is to raise the share of industry in GDP from the current 16 per cent to up to 20 per cent at least by 2020.
The President of the Commission also underlined the need to promote research, innovation and skills at the EU industry. “We are making progress in creating the right framework, with measures such as the unitary patent, faster standard setting, modernised procurement rules and a European passport for venture capital funds,” Barroso said and added that Horizon 2020 will be 30 per cent larger than its predecessor, with around €71 billion. The R&D programme will focus on excellence and on linking research to markets.
In addition, the Commission acknowledged that the EU industry lacks in pan-European networks and connectivity. The EC President highlighted that in bank lending for instance, there are very different costs in regard with the location of the companies regardless the quality of the firms. In addition, there is a need for more investments to pan-European infrastructures. Furthermore, Barroso stressed that prerequisite for the competitiveness of the EU industry is “smart and lean regulation.”
It is worth saying, that the President of the Commission, also emphasised the need for “affordable” energy. “Differences in energy prices are a result of the fragmentation of our market. Again, the completion of a fully functioning, interconnected and integrated internal energy market is central to Europe's competitiveness,” Barroso said.