On 10 March 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic was really starting to hit Europe, the European Commission launched a New Industrial Strategy for Europe, highlighting its overarching ambitions for the ‘twin transition’, a journey towards climate neutrality and digital transformation. However, the pandemic has prompted the EU to refocus its strategy, as expressed in the Commission’s May 2021 Communication on updating the EU’s industrial strategy. The need to ensure greater resilience has become the top priority for the EU institutions, alongside competitive sustainability and open strategic autonomy.
To support the European institutions in their quest for a resilient and sustainable post-pandemic recovery, CEPS has decided to set up a permanent Forum on the New Industrial Strategy for Europe, starting from February 2022 onwards. The Forum builds on an extremely successful CEPS 2021 Task Force dedicated to the same topic. The new Forum adopts the same multistakeholder spirit and is open to all stakeholders, including institutions, businesses, academics and representatives of civil society.
The Forum also adopts a similar multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral approach. It is composed of five permanent Working Groups, dedicated to important transversal topics relating to the EU’s industrial strategy. One overarching Working Group will be dedicated to Industry 5.0 as a ‘North Star’ for the EU’s New Industrial Strategy. The four other Working Groups concern more specific themes: strategic autonomy and the resilience of value chains; making the digital transition work for everyone; strategic autonomy in defence; and national resilience and recovery plans and the evolving industrial policy.
Each of these Working Groups is structured around three closed-door (online or hybrid) meetings to be held during each semester of the year, i.e. from February until June and from September until December. They will contribute concrete ideas and policy recommendations, translated into policy briefs and a Working Group final report, distilled from the Working Group’s contributions and discussions, desktop research and interviews. All Working Groups will reconvene in a plenary session at the end of the semester, i.e. in June and December, to take stock of the results of each stream of debate and to develop a consolidated list of policy recommendations. One-off events will also be organised as part of the Forum. For the first semester of 2022, they will cover aspects of the EU’s external action, namely: development and cooperation in line with the EU global gateway; and EU trade instruments against unfair practices.