Photo: Ministry of Economy
“The Common Industrial Policy Strategy should support the intensive introduction of innovation in production, industrial digitalisation, job creation and improved access to financing for enterprises”, the Bulgarian Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov stated during the opening of the conference 'Innovation and competitiveness. The core industries - a key driver of growth'. This event was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Bulgarian Association of Metallurgical Industry, the Bulgarian Chamber of Chemical Industry and the Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers organised the conference.
The Minister of Economy emphasised that the Bulgarian Presidency will continue the efforts to formulate common, long-term and short-term goals for the development of the European industry and the adoption of a strategy for a common industrial policy of the European union. Minister Karanikolov emphasised that the Presidency will focus on the process of completing the Digital Single Market in order to increase the competitiveness of the European economy by promoting the EU’s economic interest and expanding the opportunities for users to properly use the internet.
The Minister of Economy also stressed the need for active participation by all stakeholders in Europe, the businesses, the public authorities and citizens in order to achieve competitiveness, sustainable growth and employment in the digital transformation process. "Digitalisation is one of the main drivers of innovation to boost European competitiveness, maintain a sound scientific and industrial base, manage the transition to an intelligent economy of industry and services, and tackle social challenges," said Minister Karanikolov.
He noted that Europe is a world leader in many industries, especially in the high value-added manufacturing sectors and in knowledge-intensive services, but great efforts will be needed to adapt to new challenges and to ensure that the European industry can compete with other major global players. "At present, the European Union faces the need to invest in the modernisation of its industry in the overall value chain in order to maintain its competitive position and economic importance globally," added Mr Karanikolov.
The event was attended by Mr Eric Mamer, Director of the European Commission's Directorate for Competitiveness and European Semester, and by the CEOs of the European Branch Organisations - the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), The European Association of Steel (Eurofer), the European Association of Non-ferrous Metals (Eurometaux) and the International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC).
The conference precedes the plenary session of the informal ministerial meeting on Competitiveness in the area of industry, which will discuss the future of the European industrial policy. Two parallel sessions - 'The new trends in industrial development - digitalisation of industry and human factors in the process of economic development' and 'Value chains and developing competitive advantages of the European economy' will discuss the future comprehensive, long-term EU industrial strategy with prospects for up to 2030.