Bold policy actions to tackle some of the biggest European industry competitiveness challenges

18th April 2019

European industry is being tested by increased global competition, weaknesses in industrial structures and problems accessing raw materials. Threats also arise from changing consumer demand, an ageing population, climate change, and on a short-term tension in the world trade system.  Europe’s long-standing challenge to close the productivity gap, especially with the US in areas such as digital technologies and biotech, still prevails. According to the latest results of the 2017 European Innovation Scoreboard, the EU is catching up with Canada and the US, but other countries — South Korea, China and Japan — pose an economic threat. Europe seems desperate to create European Silicon Valleys with the potential to build European champions as powerful as Google or Apple. Rather than following US examples, or living in fear of Asian competition, European industrial policy should find its own way, based on European values, and write its own destiny.

In this new edition of |the| technopolitan, our Technopolis experts call for bold policy actions to tackle some of the biggest European industry competitiveness challenges. Fixing the European companies digital mentality gap; investing harder in new technology drivers (and their up-take) such as automation, AI, connectivity, blockchain, cloud computing and big data, advanced technologies that reshape the economy and the industry business models; developing digital and human skills to ease the access to an appropriately skilled workforce; gaining more independence from foreign suppliers by deploying at a larger scale a truly circular economy; strengthening the single market for digital and service companies.

A better response to the competitiveness challenge of European industry also means entering a virtuous policy cycle by building a multi-level industrial policy, involving the EU, States and local and regional authorities; constantly questioning European and national regulatory frameworks that can have an impact on the competitiveness of European industry vis-à-vis third countries; and making the most of the power of big data to measure and anticipate the effects of policies on industrial transformation.

I do really hope you will enjoy your reading of this edition that gives a flavour of the work we have done on this topic in the past year and reflects our personal views.

Matthieu Lacave, Group Managing Partner Director