Commissioner Breton's speech on the future of EU industry

Submitted by Tedora Aibu on 07 May 2020

On 24 April, the current Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton (France), delivered a speech in front of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. In his speech, addressed to Davide Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, Christian-Silviu Busoi, Chair of the Committee (PPE), and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, he began with confronting the current global health crisis instigated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

European nations and their leaders were summoned to work in solidarity with urgency, boldness, and responsibility from the heart in order to defeat the boundless outbreak which is economically devastating for many parts of the world. A plea was made with the audience to be realistic and serious about possible reprecussions of the crisis. Even though initial crashing societal, economical, medical and financial waves have been temporarily mitigated by liquidity applications from ECB and EIB, the Stability Pact, state aids, and other monetary solidarity instruments to help businesses stay afloat, there is more to come.

The next step is to save the European industries, whether they consist of large and small businesses, by maintaining a level playing field both in the single market and at the global level. Thus, the approach to European industrial ecosystems will need to change. It was further detailed in the speech that European industries are facing multiple critical risks such as bankruptcies, layoffs, and hostile takeovers due to the fall of demand for goods and services, lack of workforce, and uncertain prospects of improvement. Global partners such as China and the USA are applying immense recovery plans for their industries, thus, European industries need to be protected from the potential risk to their economic security, autonomy, and economic standing in the world. Henceforth, the European industrial recovery plan needs to be put into action. The establishment of this fund will require a precise assessment of needs in the EU, identification of financial possibilities, and an agreement on an instrument including its application and monitoring. Cooperation and strong partnerships are key to succeeding with this initiative. Furthermore, thoughtful consideration of appropriate governance processes are crucial for success.

The speech was concluded with a final note on how the crisis is also gearing the European industries to become green, digital, and resilient in the long-run.

To read the full speech, please click here.

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