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17.  EU Industrial and enterprise policies

  1. The competitiveness of European industry
  2. EU enterprise policy
  3. EU sectoral industrial policy
  4. Appraisal and outlook of EU industrial policy
  5. Bibliography on EU industrial and enterprise policies

The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community organised the achievement of customs union in great detail with regard to the industrial products of the Member States, but made no call for an industrial policy as such. In fact the founding fathers of the EEC had hoped that the liberalisation of trade and increased competition inside the common market could, on their own, bring about the structural changes that the European industry needed. As was explained in the chapter on the common market, this hope was tardily realised because of the tardy completion of the single market [see section 6.1]. However, an important part of the common industrial policy, concerning the harmonisation of legislations, standardisation and public procurement, was dealt with in the chapter on the common market [see section 6.2].

In the absence of a specific structural policy for the industrial sector, a large part of the present chapter is devoted to enterprise policy. In the run-up to the completion of the single market, in the early 1990s, the EC/EU has, in fact, paid close attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for almost 99% of the industrial fabric of the Union and for 70% of total employment in the private sector of the Member States and which face problems of integration in the single market. The enterprise policy, however, covers not only industrial firms but also firms in other economic sectors, in particular craft, tourism and the distributive trade.

Concerning the tourism sector, in particular, it should be noted that, despite the common interest in developing a common policy for the promotion of European tourism, the Council, has done nothing more, until now, than invite the Member States to help implement the cooperation approach between tourism stakeholders through the open method of coordination, i.e. without using European legal instruments [COM/2001/665 and Council Resolution]. However, the treaty of Lisbon now declares that the Union shall complement the action of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector. Union action shall be aimed at: (a) encouraging the creation of a favourable environment for the development of undertakings in this sector; and (b) promoting cooperation between the Member States, particularly by the exchange of good practice. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish specific measures to complement actions within the Member States to achieve these objectives, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States (Article 195 TFEU). A Commission communication introduces an EU tourism policy, outlining the Commission's future initiatives on the principal aspects of European policy-making and the ways partnerships amongst concerned stakeholders should evolve [COM/2006/134].

The last part of this chapter deals with sectoral industrial policy, that is, common policy for industries in decline in Europe, such as steel and shipbuilding, and "infant" or fast growing industries, such as information and telecommunications technologies.

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Your roadmap in the maze of the European Union.

Based on the book of Nicholas Moussis:
Access to European Union law, economics, policies
.



Translated into 14 languages


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