After a first successful edition last year, EU Industry Day is coming back with an extended edition. On 22 and 23 February, 600 participants representing key industrial, finance, research and innovation players as well as high-level EU policymakers will gather in Brussels.
They will take stock of the ambitious strategic approach to industrial policy presented by President Juncker last autumn and debate the future of European industry on the “Road to 2030”. President Juncker will deliver a video message, and the Commission will be prominently represented by Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Jyrki Katainen as well as Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Carlos Moedas. The High-Level Industrial Roundtable ‘Industry 2030’, chaired by Vice-President Katainen, will meet for the first time, as an important advisory instrument for the implementation of the Commission’s renewed industrial policy. EU leadership in the transition to clean and sustainable energy is a big priority to the Commission and this is demonstrated by the launch of the first edition of the Clean Energy Industrial Forum, centred around three industry-led initiatives: batteries, renewables and construction. Industrial actors will present 20 priority actions as part of the new European Battery Alliance. The Commission will launch a €10 million EIC Horizon Prize for the development of a reliable, safe, low-cost battery for e-vehicles, and sign a €52.6 million InnovFin loan for the start-up Northvolt to build a gigafactory for battery cells in Europe. The role of key enabling technologies, such as micro and nanoelectronics, to modernise European industry, boost innovation and solve societal challenges will also be discussed. The Commission’s High Level Strategy Group for Industrial Technologies chaired by Jürgen Rüttgers will present preliminary results on its work and propose to include artificial intelligence as well as security and connectivity as part of these key transformative technologies in the next framework programme for research and innovation. Four dedicated factsheets on the key pillars and announcements of the EU Industry Day are available: batteries production, renewable energies, skills development and the construction sector.
“The Single Market of 500 million consumers is a great EU success story. Today we are removing obstacles, reinforcing trust and allowing our businesses and consumers to make the most of it.” Said Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth Investment and Competitiveness.
The Commission tabled two legislative proposals to make it easier for companies, especially SMEs, to sell their products across Europe, and to strengthen controls by national authorities and customs officers to prevent unsafe products from being sold to European consumers. Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska added: “The Single Market is built on trust. Consumers must be able to trust that the products they use are of the same standard wherever they come from; and public authorities must be able to trust that the products on their national markets are safe for their citizens. The breast implant and ‘dieselgate’ scandals undermined this trust and we must rebuild it with stricter controls across the board. Faulty products have absolutely no place in the EU.” Trade in goods accounts for 75% of intra-EU trade and around 25% of the EU’s GDP. Reducing internal trade barriers further could lead to an increase of intra-EU trade by more than €100 billion per year. Today’s initiatives were designed to improve the free flow of goods in the EU, namely through a better application of the principle of ‘mutual recognition’ and strengthened controls by national authorities.
“Today we boost our collective ability to catch the ‘big fish’ behind fake goods and pirated content which harm our companies, our jobs, our health and safety. We are also placing Europe as a global leader with a patent licensing system conducive to the roll-out of the Internet of Things from smartphones to connected cars.” Said Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
The Commission today presents measures to ensure that intellectual property rights (IPR) are well protected, thereby encouraging European companies, in particular SMEs and start-ups, to invest in innovation and creativity. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth Investment and Competitiveness, added: “Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness largely depends on our many entrepreneurs investing in new ideas and knowledge. This package improves the application and enforcement of intellectual property rights and encourages investment in technology and product development in Europe.” Today’s initiatives will make it easier to act efficiently against breaches of IPR, facilitate cross-border litigation, and tackle the fact that 5% of goods imported into the EU (worth €85 billion) are counterfeited or pirated. When it comes to Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), the Commission encourages fair and balanced licensing negotiations which ensure that companies are rewarded for their innovation while allowing also others to build on this technology to generate new innovative products and services.
“As we look to Europe’s future education is key, because it is education that equips us with the skills we need to become active members of our increasingly complex societies. It is education that helps us adapt to a rapidly changing world, to develop a European identity, to understand other cultures and to gain the new skills one needs in a society that is mobile, multicultural and increasingly digital.” Said Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics.
With the debate on the future of Europe in full swing, the European Commission is today setting out its vision for how we can create a European Education Area by 2025. The ideas formulated are intended as a contribution to the EU Leaders’ meeting on 17 November 2017 in Gothenburg, where they will discuss the future of education and culture. Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen said: “A collective effort would enable Europe as a whole to shape its future, deal better with the challenges it is facing and to become more resilient. One of Europe’s greatest achievements was to build bridges across our continent with the creation of an area of free movement for workers and citizens. But there are still obstacles to mobility in the area of education. By 2025 we should live in a Europe in which learning, studying and doing research is not hampered by borders but where spending time in another Member State to study, learn or work is the norm.”
“The Investment Plan for Europe is boosting innovation throughout Europe, and today’s announcement is yet another example. This research and development project by Volvo will push the boundaries of automotive technology in Europe and take us another step closer to a low carbon economy.” Said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
The EIB and Volvo Car Corporation have signed a EUR 245 million loan agreement backing research and development activities in connectivity, efficient petrol hybrid engines, longer-range electric cars and advanced driving assistance systems. The EIB transaction with Volvo Cars was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It was founded by the EIB Group and the European Commission to boost the competitiveness of the European economy.
“We are happy to support a European car maker in addressing the disruptive technology shifts towards e-mobility and autonomous driving. Volvo Cars’ research and development projects will contribute to making their cars safer, cleaner and greener, which benefits us all,” said EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb, responsible for EIB operations in Northern European countries.
The automotive industry is facing a number of challenges, as high investments are required in new technologies. At the same time, competition from other players outside the traditional industry is increasing.
The EIB loan will help to finance four research and development projects addressing these challenges. The first concerns the development of new energy-efficient engines and is related to petrol-operated engines only. The second project focuses on active safety systems and functions such as collision avoidance and improved driver assistance features. The third encompasses the development of a new connectivity and infotainment platform, which will introduce a new emergency call feature, and improved navigation. The last project aims at the development and production of a new “Battery Electric Vehicle” by 2019.
The research projects are located in Volvo Cars’ technical centres in Sweden and will be developed for autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. The EIB-supported R&D programme will assist Volvo Cars in complying with CO2 requirements and regulations beyond 2020.
“The development of innovative treatments is a process which requires sustained investment. This is where the Investment Plan can play a role. I am glad that, with today’s agreement, the Plan is supporting research which aims to tackle serious illnesses and diseases.” Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said. The Investment Plan for Europe continues to support innovative projects in the health sector.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €75 million to Evotec to invest in research and development of treatments for serious illnesses. The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central element of the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan. Evotec will use this long-term financing boost to finance drug discovery and the development of new treatments for serious illnesses and diseases. The type of financing is also novel: it is the first large equity-type investment under EFSI in any industry anywhere in Europe. It also EFSI’s first contingent investment, meaning the bank shares the risk of Evotec’s research & development (R&D) success. This agreement with Evotec comes days after agreements were finalised with MagForce to develop new treatments for brain cancer as well as Apeiron which also develops cancer treatment, particularly a rare type affecting children. Also today the European Investment Fund signed a deal with ACT Ventures to provide €20 million in financing to small tech businesses in Ireland.
“These transactions demonstrate the diversity, quality and impact of the investments made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Whether it is through supporting medical research projects or helping small businesses access the finance they need to expand and create jobs, the Investment Plan is delivering real results across the EU. A final agreement on the extension and reinforcement of the EFSI will allow it to do even more. Therefore we look forward to a swift conclusion to the negotiations by the co-legislators.” Said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
The Investment Plan continues to deliver. Over the last week, the Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) has backed finance for digital innovation in Sweden, access to finance for small businesses in Poland and medical research in Austria. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing Swedish software developer inRiver with €8 million in financing to invest in research and development, expand its market reach and grow its customer base. The European Investment Fund (EIF) and national promotional bank Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) are doubling the size of their loans to Polish SMEs to PLN 2 billion (ca. €500 million). The loans are expected to reach close to 10,600 small businesses and entrepreneurs across Poland.
The EIB is providing €25 million of financing to Austrian biotech company Apeiron Biologics to support the development of new pharmaceutical products to treat cancer, particularly a rare type affecting children. This is the second medical research project to be signed in recent weeks, after the EIB agreed a €35 million loan to German medical device company MagForce to support the development of a new approach to treating brain tumours. This new approach makes it possible to combat the tumour from within, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. All of these agreements were made possible through the support of the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan. The Investment Plan is now expected to trigger over €225 billion across Europe.