Maybe the answers to this question and indeed all those posed below can be found at http://manufacturingatheart.eu
One market for all?
The European Union is built on the idea of a single European market, allowing free movement of goods, services, persons and capital – directly benefitting every EU citizen, family and company. A properly functioning single market would help European companies become more competitive in today’s fast changing, globalised market. But the EU’s single market is far from complete. Rules vary between member states, with extra requirements often added to EU rules.
How can European policy makers complete the single market across the EU and make it truly one market for all?
A supportive labour market?
European Manufacturing is facing a significantly changed and ever-developing global environment, creating not only major opportunities but also significant competitive pressures. In today’s EU, manufacturing companies face higher international competition than most other sectors. Competitors outside the EU have lower labour costs and much less regulation. If we want to secure and build European employment, we have to maintain and strengthen European manufacturing’s international competiveness with the help of dynamic labour markets.
How can European policy makers create the right local, national and EU-level policies and regulations for a supportive labour market?
Win-win-win environmental laws?
We all accept Europe needs to continue its transition towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable future. Our industry plays a leading role in this (r)evolution, with the innovative products, systems and technologies we’ve produced through significant, long-term investments. Europe’s environmental laws have to be fairly balanced and stable, producing a win-win-win for not only the environment, but also European manufacturing’s international competitiveness and so European workers and employment.
How can European policy makers ensure win-win-win environmental laws?
Balanced energy policy?
EU energy policy aims to balance environmental goals with international competitiveness, jobs and growth.
But while Europe moves towards its ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions 20% by 2020, European manufacturers are weighed down by much higher energy costs than our rivals, damaging competitiveness and so European workers and jobs.
How can European policy makers develop a more balanced energy policy?
European manufacturing relies on appropriate, targeted investment in research and development (R&D) to stay competitive in today’s global market. The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme is a positive step, bringing R&D and innovation together under one common initiative for the first time.But, important opportunities still exist to properly focus research on industry’s real needs, simplify the system and better link regional, national and EU-level actions.
How can European policy makers promote smarter R&D?
Modern infrastructure drives industrial competitiveness, economic growth and so job creation and prosperity. Like other industries, European manufacturing needs such infrastructure to help it remain competitive in today’s fast- changing, global market. The EU has recently outlined wide-ranging plans to modernise Europe’s infrastructure by 2020, including energy, transport, e-health and digital interconnectivity. But in realising these plans we face real obstacles like limited financing, public opposition and long, complex permit procedures.
How can European policy makers deliver modernised infrastructure?
Finance that works?
The European Commission’s new industrial policy concentrates on public sector funding and reinforcing access to international capital markets. Welcomed as this is, European manufacturing companies’ day-to-day business mainly rely on bank credit, something which has become progressively more difficult to access and expensive. In parallel, larger organisations, including governments and institutions, are paying invoices late. This particularly affects suppliers, many of which are SMEs.
How can European policy makers help provide finance that works?
Bridging the growing skills gap?
Today’s dynamic, global market is driven by constant and rapid advances in technology. European manufacturing companies face an ever-increasing challenge to have the right people with the right skills in place to best compete and grow. Despite high levels of unemployment, manufacturing companies across Europe still have unfilled vacancies. This skills gap will only widen without strong cooperation between industry and education to produce proper lifelong learning and education and training systems matched to real labour market demand.
How can European policy makers effectively bridge the skills gap?
Manufacturing – only you can make more of it!