EU channels significant investments for SMEs
The EU commission recently published an updated version of the EU Industrial Strategy, taking into account the new conditions following the pandemic. Among the most important updates are measures to make the EU less dependent on imports of crucial goods such as medicines and raw materials.
SMEs are still at the heart of the updated strategy, as they account for two thirds of European jobs. Significant investments will therefore be channeled to SMEs to strengthen their adaptability. The pandemic has also put the EUs most important principles to the test; the free movement of goods, people, services and capital, and the commission therefore wants to strengthen resilience in the internal market. The updated strategy proposes a new crisis management instrument to ensure more transparency and coordination, as well as better market monitoring of products. In addition the EU wants a better enforcement of the Services Directive to ensure that the EU and EEA countries fulfil their obligations.
Dependent on products in energy intensive industries
The pandemic has triggered a greater awareness of the need to analyse and manage Europes dependence on others in strategic areas. The EU is highly dependent on a number of products mainly in energy intensive industries (ex rare and critical raw materials), which today is imported from China, Vietnam and Brazil to name a few. Today, EU member states only produce about 1 percent of the raw materials needed in current battery production. The EU is also too dependent on advanced technology.
At the same time as the launch of the updated industrial strategy, the Commission also presented a new instrument to prevent foreign subsidies from distorting competition and preventing fair conditions in the internal market. The amended proposal is a follow up to the White Paper on foreign subsidies from last year. The aim is to ensure a level playing field by reducing the regulatory gap in the internal market, where subsidies granted by governments outside the EU/EEA are currently uncontrolled, while subsidies granted by members states (and EEA countries such as Norway) are subject to close control through state aid regulations.
Read the updated industrial strategy in full here.
MAJA BUSCH SEVALDSEN, EU ADVISOR
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