Emil Karanikolov, Bulgarian Minister for the Economy. Photo: European Union
The Bulgarian Presidency today steered a debate among EU member states about what the next EU industrial policy strategy should look like. Following the discussion, chaired by the Bulgarian Minister for the Economy, Emil Karanikolov, in his role as President of the Competitiveness Council, the Council called for urgent action to establish a long-term strategy for European industry to boost competitiveness, growth and innovation in Europe. The conclusions adopted by the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 12 March 2018 call on the European Commission to present a draft EU industrial policy strategy by the beginning of the next legislative cycle.
Commenting on the document, Mr Karanikolov said:
"Our industrial policy is a strategic question for Europe – what we do now will determine where our economy and society will be in a decade. This underlines the need for us to have a broader, long-term and forward-looking approach. Recent developments have only served to confirm the need to identify strategic actions in support of European industry, to help it adapt, attract investment and create jobs".
On Monday, EU economy ministers held another forward-looking debate: on how to make the EU Single Market better fit for the challenges of today and tomorrow. The debate was inspired by the 25th anniversary of the EU Single Market. In their discussions, ministers acknowledged that the Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. However, it is currently faced with many challenges, which no Member State can meet on its own. On the other hand, the opportunities are also enormous and the EU has to make good use of them to keep its lead in a number of sectors and regain its leading position in the areas where it is currently lagging behind its competitors.
The way forward could be to combine the many existing policies into a single longer-term strategy, supplemented by the Member States' commitment to coherent and predictable action, minister Karanikolov said during the debate.
He singled out the digitalisation of the economy as one of the current challenges facing EU industry. Because of its importance, it was the topic of another discussion among ministers on Monday, this time in the context of the European Semester.
Minister Karanikolov gave a detailed briefing on Monday’s debates at the press conference following the Council meeting, together with Commissioner Bieńkowska, in charge of Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness.
More information about Monday’s meeting is available here.
Pictures and videos can be found here.