Nieuws-items bij Industry and enterprise policy
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01-05Agenda Raad concurrentievermogen in teken van toegang MKB tot financiering (en)
Antonio TAJANI Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship Key enabling technologies (KETs): drivers of the future industrial revolution Press conference/Brussels 25 June 2012 Europe is facing an economic and social situation that has had no equal in the period since the Second World War. - Hoofdinhoud
Europe is facing an economic and social situation that has had no equal in the period since the Second World War.
In addition to the need to create jobs and increase competitiveness, we are also facing other key challenges: an ageing population and ensuring (strategic and sustainable) access to raw materials and energy sources, not to mention the fight against climate change and the management of ecosystems.
-The world of 2020 will be very different from the world we know today.
-There is expected to be a considerable rise in consumption and in the demand for energy and raw materials in particular.
The number of vehicles in circulation is expected to double by 2030, for example, from 800 million to 1.6 billion, rising to 2.5 billion vehicles in 2050.
These are huge challenges, which Europe can only face by making a concerted effort. They are also an opportunity to generate new demand for goods and services, thereby creating jobs.
To enable Europe to seize this opportunity, politicians must do their utmost to hasten a new industrial revolution.
The first industrial revolution is frequently linked to the use of coal and steam to operate machinery; it was followed by the age of oil.
Finally, the third industrial revolution, which is still under way, is based on technology developed to meet the challenges now being faced by our society.
Our economy is also changing radically as a result of the new production methods based on the emergence of key enabling technologies (KETs), which I consider to be one of the main drivers of the industrial revolution.
They are the technological building blocks that will be used to construct any technology or innovative high-tech product in the next few years. They are the true "raw materials for innovation and the green economy".
Micro- and nanoelectronics, nanotechnologies, photonics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology and advanced production technologies are key to the production of smart grids, solar panels, photovoltaic cells, electric cars, satellites and virtually all kinds of cutting-edge goods in general, for example in the smartphone and PC sectors.
They are estimated to have contributed about EUR 650 billion to the international economy in 2008 and this figure is expected to rise to thousands of billions of euro in 2015.
I do not think that I need to say anything else to emphasise the importance of developing and making industrial use of these enabling technologies to consolidate and modernise the industrial base of the European Union and, in so doing, give it what it needs to face its international competitors.
This is the purpose of the "European strategy for key enabling technologies" that is being presented today. It is also the Commission's response:
-to the recommendations of the European Council, which in March called on the Commission to "strengthen key enabling technologies";
-and to the recommendations of the High Level Group on KETs.
KETs - MAIN CONSIDERATIONS
Accounting for 32 % of patents filed between 1991 and 2008, the European Union is still one of the leading world developers of KETs. It is the only region to possess all six of the technologies. The Commission considers that the EU has everything it needs to maintain this position. We cannot rest on our laurels, however. Competition from China, India and Korea is becoming increasingly fierce and aggressive. For example, the percentage of patents that were filed in Asia has risen from 29 % to 38 % in the past ten years.
The main weakness of the EU is its inability to transform its own ideas into goods and services. Manufacturing linked to KETs is continuing to fall.
The charts behind me concerning li-ion batteries and pv-cell photovoltaic panels are particularly revealing. They make the difference between EU patents (31 % and 36 %) and EU production (0 % and 5 %) abundantly clear.
This is particularly worrying for two reasons:
-In the short term, opportunities for jobs and growth are being lost.
-In the long term, there is a danger that it will impair our ability to generate new knowledge. Innovation and production are closely linked and mutually reinforcing and therefore occur in close proximity to one another.
This is a key point, since it shows that failure to reverse this trend will cause us to enter a vicious circle in which production will fall and there will be a gradual erosion of our knowledge base, even though this is the key strength of our economy, since the EU can compete on the international market only through quality, certainly not through quantity.
KEY ELEMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY FOR KETs
The strategy being presented to you today is based on political considerations: in the face of ever more aggressive (and not always fair!) international competition, we can no longer think along national lines. Our response must be European. We must concert our efforts and co-ordinate our policies and measures to produce a European response.
The EU has therefore launched a number of initiatives that will together make it possible to maintain a truly European approach:
1- Greater emphasis on Applied Research in order to bring us out of the "valley of death" in which ideas cannot be made marketable. Almost seven billion euros will therefore be assigned in Horizon 2020 to supporting pilot and demonstration projects combining different KETs.
2- European funds. At a time when "every euro counts" towards increasing the leverage of European funding, we consider it crucial to:
A)change the rules to make it possible to combine the research and innovation funds with the structural funds. This has not been possible up to now.
This will obviously open up significant opportunities, especially for the cohesion regions, most of which are finding it very difficult to achieve the objective of 3 % investment in R&D.
B)Another aspect that I consider to be key with regard to the structural funds is that the KETs should be defined as one of the priority investment areas in which the structural funds can be used to finance projects that are much closer to the market, all the way up to first production. This is essential if we are to keep production in Europe and prevent relocation. It is very easy to take a prototype to China and produce it there, but this becomes much more difficult if there is already a first production line and a dedicated structure here in Europe.
3- Sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the EIB to increase support for the KETs. We are therefore paying particular attention to the 10 billion euros of recapitalisation funds to be provided by the EIB, which is to be confirmed by the European Council this week.
4- Enhance internal and external co-ordination at the Commission. Ad hoc governance for the KETs within the Commission will be defined to ensure the coherence of all the relevant programmes and the creation of synergies between them. We are also going to set up an external consultative group to reinforce public-private partnerships.
5- As part of current efforts to modernise regulations concerning State aid, next year the Commission will revise the research and innovation guidelines to assist in implementing the Europe 2020 strategy and increase the quality of public expenditure. It is also emphasised that the rules on State aid include special criteria for evaluating aid to promote the execution of an important project of common European interest as laid down in Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.
6- Commercial Policy: creating a commercial environment that is more favourable to the key enabling technologies at a bilateral and multilateral level while at the same time continuing individual efforts to ensure fair competition and fight against subsidisation by third countries. We will also promote co-operation with third countries with regard to these technologies in areas of mutual interest.
I would like to conclude by emphasising that the Commission cannot face all of the challenges on its own.
Measures to disseminate key enabling technologies require co-ordination and the creation of synergies between all the interested parties: the Commission, Member States, regions and industry.
The Commission therefore invites the Member States and the regions to define and implement smart specialisation strategies (it will be necessary to think non-parochially, along European lines, in order to determine the priorities for the regional funds to be able to exert leverage through the European R&I funds) and to promote special measures for the enabling technologies based on competitiveness clusters.
Finally, we should not forget that it is also important for industry to fulfil its own responsibilities. The Commission has shown its willingness to promote relatively risky and costly projects that are closer to the market and are key to ensuring the EU's competitiveness. When public funds are limited, it is more important than ever to use them to promote employment and growth. The members of the high-level group of experts have therefore reached agreement on commitments to be met by the interested parties in order to create pilot production lines. I intend to use these commitments as a basis for a dialogue with the interested parties in this sector in order to encourage them to prepare and sign a memorandum of understanding expressing their commitment to contributing to the Europe 2020 strategy through the key technologies, to ensure intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth.