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Ensuring the future competitiveness of EU industry in a fast-changing global economy


Ensuring the future competitiveness of EU industry in a fast-changing global economy

Manufacturers are the backbone of the European economy. Yet companies face more and more challenges that put this strong position at risk. Digitalisation is disrupting business models, challenging the market leadership of established European companies. And China is an increasingly strong global competitor, with a record of acquiring technology manufacturers in the EU.

Finding the best policy approach is problematic. A strong state-driven industrial policy is controversial. In France, promoting national champions is still a priority, whereas in Germany the traditional focus has been on creating the right framework conditions for the 'Mittelstand' to thrive.

Ultimately it is up to the European Union and its Member States to create favourable conditions for European world champions to emerge. These could include solidifying the foundations of the single market, daring to invest in innovation, providing access to capital, and assertively pursuing fair and equal trade policies. And the EU also has the potential to show global leadership in promoting responsible business conduct, which could well be companies’ biggest contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Join this EURACTIV debate to discuss how EU industry can remain competitive in a fast-changing global economy where the playing field is not always level. Points of discussion will include:

- The role of the European Commission and EU Member States in strengthening European industry;
- The arguments for and against state aid and state intervention;
- The role of the Single Market;
- The role of SMEs;
- The impact of digitalising industry.

Supported by:


Microsoft Center
Rue Montoyer 51, 1000 Brussels


Paul Csiszár, Director, Basic Industries, Manufacturing and Agriculture, DG COMP, European Commission
Janne Känkänen, Chair, EU High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth; Director for EU and International Affairs, Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Lucie Studnicná, President, Consultative Commission on Industrial Change, European Economic and Social Committee
Liam Bates, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain, Outokumpu


Brian Maguire, Journalist, EURACTIV


17:30 – 18:00 Welcome drinks & registration
18:00 – 18:05 Opening remarks by John Frank, Vice-President, EU Government Affairs, Microsoft
18:05 – 19:30 Panel discussion and Q&A
19:30 – 20:30 Networking Reception


Teresa Dominguez
+32 (0) 2 788 36 93

Related article

Europe seeks a comprehensive strategy to lift its competitiveness 

Europe seeks a comprehensive strategy to lift its competitiveness 

The dominance of US firms and Chinese companies in the digital world has sounded the alarm bells in Europe. EU and national officials have agreed that the competitiveness of European firms requires a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond easing the bloc's competition rules.

Highlights video