Saturday | 31 Oct 2020
CEPS Task Force

A new industrial policy strategy for Europe


Industry is a crucial sector for the EU economy. It is responsible for a large number of jobs in the EU, the lion’s share of exports and the majority of private expenditures in research and innovation. Ten years after the 2008 crisis, and despite a sustained recovery path, the EU industrial sector has, however, not fully recovered. Meanwhile, digital transformation, new technologies, climate change and other environmental challenges, coupled with fiercer global competition, growing geopolitical tensions and rising protectionism are generating new challenges and opportunities for the EU industry, which require new and prompt policy responses.

CEPS is therefore planning to launch a Task Force to identify key elements of a new industrial policy strategy for Europe and put forward policy recommendations for the new Commission. The Task Force will provide a discussion forum for international experts, institutions (including EU and national policymakers) and stakeholders from the business sector, academia and civil society. While the final research agenda will be agreed upon with the members of the Task Force, it will follow a multidisciplinary approach and will be structured along the following lines.

  • Setting the scene. At the outset, the Task Force will aim to take stock of the literature and key evidence on the topic, and identify the main elements to be discussed by Task Force participants. What is the health state of the EU industrial sector? How does it contribute to growth and jobs? What has been done so far at the EU level to sustain the competitiveness of the EU industry? What are the main opportunities and challenges for EU industrial development? What role for globalisation, digitalisation and sustainability? Which are the key drivers of a new industrial policy strategy to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth? Which strategic targets should be achieved and how should we measure progress?
  • Policies. The Task Force will then look at the main policy areas to be harnessed for a holistic, long-term industrial policy strategy for Europe. Ideally, the Task Force will focus on five to six policy areas and try to answer some of the following questions. How can research, innovation and entrepreneurship contribute to EU industrial leadership? Can current competition legislation further boost the market integration process and ensure the competitiveness of EU industry on a global scale? Should trade rules be revised to ensure fairer and more sustainable competition? What role for private and public investments in facilitating access to risk capital and providing support for an EU industrial policy strategy? Does Europe need a new SME policy encouraging EU businesses to scale-up and compete on a global scale? Can energy and climate policies create opportunities for the EU to become a global leader in the green economy? What investment is needed in education and training to bridge skills and knowledge gaps? Does the EU better regulation agenda properly account for impacts on industrial competitiveness and innovation? Is corporate taxation ensuring a level-playing field?
  • Sectors. The Task Force will then perform a number of deep dives into selected sectors. By relying on case studies, participants will investigate how the policies under analysis can be harnessed in a coordinated manner to foster the competitiveness of specific sectors. Ideally, three sectors will be analysed. For instance, can the EU revitalise its energy-intensive sectors? Which policies will allow the EU to secure its global role in the space industry and enable broader social and economic benefits? Should the EU strengthen its transport and telecommunication infrastructures? What role for EU companies in the digital economy? Is EU manufacturing seizing the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution? Which strategic value chains are crucial for EU industrial leadership?


For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Ada Modzelewska (

Ada Modzelewska

Project Officer

+32 (0)2 229 39 75