The Basque Country to steer European industrial policy
The Committee of the Regions has charged the Basque Government with the task of drawing up a report to direct European industrial policy.
The Basque Country was chosen as a result of its widely recognised role as an industrial power at European level. Over the course of the last year, the Basque Government, at the behest of the European Commission, set up two seminars focusing on the metal processing industry in Europe.
The new industrial strategy of the EU must be submitted to the various European bodies in order to have them voice an opinion, which includes the Committee of the Regions. The Committee, which is formed by 344 representatives of European local and regional groups, is currently drawing up a series of conclusions that will qualify the base document sent by the European Commission. To draw up this report, this body has charged the Basque Government with the responsibility of acting as speaker.
Today, in Venice, the Vice-Minister Xabier Garmendia and the General Secretary for Overseas Action, Guillermo Echenique, presented the draft report, which qualifies, analyses and completes the proposal of the European Commission.
The Basque Government stresses aspects such as 3I+D, company size and the solution to the current financing problems.
The Lehendakari will defend the definitive report that will be issued by the Committee of the Regions in October.
The Committee of the Regions has charged the Basque Government with the task of heading a work group that is drawing up a series of proposals with reference to the European Union's new industrial policy.
Today, in Venice, the Vice-Minister for Industry and Energy, Xabier Garmendia, in his capacity as the expert appointed by the Lehendakari, and the General Secretary for Overseas Action, Guillermo Echenique, presided over a meeting of the work group undertaking the task of drawing up the Committee of the Regions' report in relation to the communication of the European Commission with regards to industrial policy.
The document, which will be presented this evening by the representatives of the Basque Government, during their intervention, affords a number of reflections with regards to the future of European industry. "We are heading towards a new type of industry wherein knowledge will play a vital role," states the draft report that will be debated today in Venice. "The innovation and investment components of I+D+i, along with internationalisation (the so-called 3I+D) number amongst the greatest challenges for European industry, which is forced to face the changes brought about by globalisation."
Globalisation represents "a series of challenges, but also a series of opportunities for industry," Garmendia and Echenique added. "The fragmentation of the value chain, with countries that manufacture at low costs, means that competition for a significant portion of industry, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, is extremely strong. All companies, irrespective of their size, require technology to adapt to a context with a high degree of international competition."
The report the Basque Government is drawing up also makes reference to company size. "We must adjust size in order to compete in international markets and in terms of investment and R&D," they explained.
The report also stresses "the need to overcome current financing problems for SME's, which represent 80% of European industry." One of the formulae proposed by the Basque Government entails "strengthening venture capital and new financing mechanisms that enable SME's to face these challenges."
The Lehendakari, in October
The next meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee, wherein advances will be made in terms of the collective posture of the Committee of the Regions, is set to take place on the 5th of July.
The final conclusions will be presented in the month of October. The Lehendakari himself, Patxi López, is charged with the task of defending the definitive report of the Committee of the Regions.
Other bodies, such as the European Parliament, the European Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions itself will also offer their appraisals of the report issued by the Committee of the Regions. The Commission's communication is entitled "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage."