The European Commission has adopted a Communication on ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’ back in March 2020. It announced around 50 legislative and non-legislative actions aimed at mastering the twin challenges of ecological and digital transitions, while strengthening the competitiveness of European industry. The strategy was aimed at ensuring Europe’s sovereignty, uphold European values and work towards fair global competition in a changing world. However, the Covid-19 crisis has since dramatically changed the status quo, not only in Europe, and not only in terms of the economic situation. Consequently, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced in her 2020 State of the Union speech an update of the EU’s industrial strategy in the first half of 2021, with a Commission proposal expected to be launched in mid-March. Meanwhile, a considerable investment package has been agreed upon at EU-level with the NextGenerationEU and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, worth 750 billion Euros. A budget which comes in addition to the ordinary European Multiannual Financial Framework. And this could be a real game changer, and have considerably more impact in support of the new industrial strategy, than the last five EU Industrial strategies had, which were launched within the last two decades. While 30% of the budget is reserved for investments into making the EU economy and society more sustainable, 20 percent of the money is earmarked for investments into ‘digital.
This EIF debate brings together senior representatives of a renowned economics think tank and industry that can provide a cross-sectoral perspective, with experts of the EU Institutions and Government holding the strings of the new Investment package. We would like them to focus the discussion on how investments into ‘digital’ under a renewed industrial strategy can act as the best medicine to relaunch and transform the European economy.
Pilar del Castillo MEP and EIF Chair
Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez, Director Recovery & Resilience Task Force (SG.RECOVER), European Commission
Christoph Steck, Director Public Policy & Internet, Telefonica S.A.
Alain Dedieu, President at Schneider-Electric; Chair of DIGITALEUROPE’s Digital Manufacturing Executive Council (DMEC)
Dr. Vera Demary, Head of the Competence Area, Digitalisation, Structural Change, and Competition, German Institute for Economic Research
Maria Rosa Gibellini, Director General, European Internet Forum