The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise wishes to highlight some of the most important aspects of the European Commission’s efforts to update its industrial strategy. From the Confederation’s perspective, it is vital to emphasise five main areas; those of growth, trade, competition rules, industrial ecosystems and R&D.
First, it is fundamental that the industrial strategy is focused on encouraging greater economic growth in Europe. Growth is a prerequisite for Member States and the EU to address the high levels of outstanding debt. This means creating favourable conditions for businesses, encouraging an open economy that encourages free movement within the EU and trade with the outside world, and increasing investment in education, research and innovation capacity.
Open trade is essential for those companies that seek to grow and prosper. The EU must learn the lessons of the pandemic, which saw unforeseen obstacles to trade arise. Companies need to have the conditions that allow them to safeguard robust supply and value chains. The EU can support this by using ambitious free trade agreements to expand the number of available markets for businesses.
The EU legislation should be continuously updated to ensure it remains relevant. If the European Commission deems it necessary to update its competition rules to further support climate change, in so doing it must be ensured that it does not undermine private investment or distort competition in the process. If they fail to do so, then those companies that have made progressive investments without the assistance of State Aid will be punished for their ambition.
The likely outcome of the Commission’s work on dividing the needs of businesses into ‘ecosystems’ remains unclear. In this context, the European Commission should be open to revising both the definition and use of ecosystems, and to which sectors are being examined, so that the tool does not lead to exclusion.
Finally, it is crucial that the EU increase funding for research and development, with a particular focus on industrial collaborative research. Above all, the EU needs to ramp up work and efforts to invest in open testing and demonstration environments, as well as ”regulatory sandboxes” to help develop the regulatory framework needed to promote and support innovative technologies.