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EU industrial policy at the crossroads: Current state of affairs, challenges and way forward

02-12-2019

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry ...

Industry plays a pivotal role in the EU's economy and growth model. Today, however, it stands at the crossroads, heavily affected by new disruptive forces, ranging from the rise of new technologies to shifts in global economic power and evolving geopolitical circumstances. Addressing these challenges raises a number of critical dilemmas, such as the need to pursue openness of markets and trade while protecting industry from unfair competition, or the need to promote greener and more sustainable industry while maintaining its global competitiveness. It also prompts a reconsideration of the EU's strategic positioning from a defensive to an offensive policy stance. These developments have triggered a lively debate on the need for a renewed, more assertive, comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy at EU level. This paper reviews the current state of affairs and key challenges facing the EU and provides an analysis of the main policy options going forward.

EU competition policy: Key to a fair single market

30-10-2019

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering ...

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering national competition authorities. Topics discussed in this paper include the role of competition policy in the digital era, merger control, instruments such as the leniency programme, commitments and settlements, and the potential impact of current political developments.

A decade on from the financial crisis: Key data

17-10-2019

The financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting a worldwide chain reaction. The EU economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, with growth returning only in the second half of 2009. Stimulatory and fiscal actions by national governments and the EU, and the Eurosystem's loose monetary policy, helped achieve recovery. It was short-lived, however, as in 2010 a sovereign debt crisis resulted from a loss of financial market confidence, with soaring public debt. Yields on ...

The financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting a worldwide chain reaction. The EU economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, with growth returning only in the second half of 2009. Stimulatory and fiscal actions by national governments and the EU, and the Eurosystem's loose monetary policy, helped achieve recovery. It was short-lived, however, as in 2010 a sovereign debt crisis resulted from a loss of financial market confidence, with soaring public debt. Yields on government bonds, particularly in the periphery countries, rose dramatically. Ad hoc rescue devices, such as the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, brought the situation under control, later supported by the pledge of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to do 'whatever it takes' to save the euro. The acute phase of the crisis ended in 2014, followed by a period of extremely low inflation and weak growth. To boost inflation, facilitate bank lending and stimulate the economy, the Eurosystem relied increasingly on quantitative easing. While 2017 was the EU's best year since the crises, with economic performance returning to pre-crisis levels, recent data suggest that the momentum is weakening, both in and outside the EU.

A decade on from the crisis: Main responses and remaining challenges

17-10-2019

It has been a decade since the financial crisis erupted and changed the world in 2008. Few at the time guessed what would be its magnitude and long-term consequences. The interconnectedness of the economy and the financial sector facilitated the spread of the crisis from the United States to Europe. First, the EU faced the Great Recession in the 2008-2009 period and then, after a short recovery, several Member States succumbed to the sovereign debt crisis. The combined crises had catastrophic consequences ...

It has been a decade since the financial crisis erupted and changed the world in 2008. Few at the time guessed what would be its magnitude and long-term consequences. The interconnectedness of the economy and the financial sector facilitated the spread of the crisis from the United States to Europe. First, the EU faced the Great Recession in the 2008-2009 period and then, after a short recovery, several Member States succumbed to the sovereign debt crisis. The combined crises had catastrophic consequences for economic growth, investment, employment and the fiscal position of many Member States. The EU engaged in short-term 'fire-fighting' measures such as bailouts to save banks and help stressed sovereigns, while at the same time reforming the inadequate framework. While signs of moderate recovery showed in 2014, the risk of falling into deflation or secular stagnation remained high, and it was only in 2017 that the EU economy returned to a state similar to that of before the crisis. The signs in 2019 are not so promising however. Many efforts have been made to improve resilience in the EU and the euro area. These have included improving the stability of the financial sector, strengthening economic governance, creating a safety net for sovereigns in distress and carrying out structural reforms, particularly in the countries most affected. In addition, the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken unconventional policy measures. Nonetheless many argue that the pace of the reforms has slowed down considerably since 2013 when the economic situation began to improve. The legacy of the crisis is still present and many challenges persist. These include the absence of a clear and agreed vision for the future of economic and monetary union (EMU), perennial macroeconomic imbalances and high public deficits in a number of Member States, and the ongoing risk of a doom loop between sovereigns and the banking sector. Post crisis vulnerabilities also include rising inequalities, youth unemployment and high in-work poverty risk levels. See also our infographic, A decade on from the financial crisis: Key data, PE 640.145.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Margrethe Vestager – Vice-President: A Europe fit for the digital age

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Economic impacts of artificial intelligence (AI)

01-07-2019

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn ...

Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce, and global leaders – the US and Asia – have emerged on the scene. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also spawn the creation of new products and services, markets and industries, thereby boosting consumer demand and generating new revenue streams. However, AI may also have a highly disruptive effect on the economy and society. Some warn that it could lead to the creation of super firms – hubs of wealth and knowledge – that could have detrimental effects on the wider economy. It may also widen the gap between developed and developing countries, and boost the need for workers with certain skills while rendering others redundant; this latter trend could have far-reaching consequences for the labour market. Experts also warn of its potential to increase inequality, push down wages and shrink the tax base. While these concerns remain valid, there is no consensus on whether and to what extent the related risks will materialise. They are not a given, and carefully designed policy would be able to foster the development of AI while keeping the negative effects in check. The EU has a potential to improve its standing in global competition and direct AI onto a path that benefits its economy and citizens. In order to achieve this, it first needs to agree a common strategy that would utilise its strengths and enable the pooling of Member States' resources in the most effective way.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Industrial policy

28-06-2019

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve ...

Through its industrial policy, the European Union (EU) has been striving to create conditions conducive to increasing industry growth and competitiveness since 1992. European industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, providing one job out of five, and is responsible for the bulk of EU exports and investment in research and innovation. Today, the aim of EU policy is to enable a successful transition towards digital, knowledge-based, decarbonised and more circular industry in Europe. To achieve this goal, the EU supports, coordinates and supplements Member State-level policies and actions, mainly in the areas of research and innovation, SMEs and digital technologies. In a Eurobarometer poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than half of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on industrial policy. Despite this, it is still the least understood policy area covered by the poll. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including investment (mainly through the European Fund for Strategic Investment, which supports industrial modernisation); digitalisation (for example setting up a number of research partnerships, or a growing network of digital innovation hubs); financing (making it easier for industry and SMEs to access public markets and attract venture funds); greener industry (for example through the revised 2030 emission targets, or measures on clean mobility); standardisation (bringing together relevant stakeholders to collectively develop and update European standards); and skills (mobilising key stakeholders to close the skills gap and providing an adequate workforce for modern industry). The European Parliament has called for ambitious policies in many of these areas. In the future, EU spending on key areas relevant to industrial policy is expected to rise moderately. The European Commission is proposing to boost the share of EU spending on research, SMEs and key infrastructure, although not as much as Parliament has requested. In the coming years, policies are likely to focus on seeking fairer global competition, stimulating innovation, building digital capacities and increasing the sustainability of European industry. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

How the EU budget is spent: Euratom research and training programme

03-04-2019

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

The Euratom research and training programme is an important tool that implements the European Union's nuclear policy. Its main aim is to enhance the role of the European Union as a global leader in nuclear research, while efficiently managing its nuclear market.

Pan-European personal pension product (PEPP)

02-04-2019

An aging population increases pressure on pension systems, and traditional pay-as-you-go pensions are likely to be less generous in the future. To increase the options for those saving for retirement, and stimulate competition on the market, the European Commission proposed a new EU framework for a voluntary personal pension product (PEPP), which would be complementary to other personal pensions and national regimes. Trilogue negotiations concluded with a compromise approved by the ECON committee ...

An aging population increases pressure on pension systems, and traditional pay-as-you-go pensions are likely to be less generous in the future. To increase the options for those saving for retirement, and stimulate competition on the market, the European Commission proposed a new EU framework for a voluntary personal pension product (PEPP), which would be complementary to other personal pensions and national regimes. Trilogue negotiations concluded with a compromise approved by the ECON committee and by the Council. The European Parliament is due to vote on the PEPP file during the April I plenary session.

Prihajajoči dogodki

09-01-2020
Europe's challenges in 2020: Ten issues to watch
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