EESC- EF joint Conference
"Industrial change in Europe: current situation, prospects, responsibilities"
Brussels, 20-21 novembre 2003
This note has been prepared in order to help speakers and participants to explore the key questions to be addressed during the various sessions of the conference As mentioned in the letter of invitation, the aim of the conference is totake stock, look at the prospects for, and identify the responsibilities of the various actors involved in change, including civil society. Participants are also requested to consult official documents of the European institutions relevant to the seminar. The European Commission recently published Communication on "Industrial Policy in an Enlarged Europe" 1 contains useful information related tothe conference themes. This document does not provide any general information related to the Consultative Committee on Industrial Change- CCMI, neither on the European Monitoring Centre on Change -EMCC. For further information, please see the websites 2. Lessons from the ECSC In the same year that saw the birth of the single currency, Europe had to say farewell to the first supranational treaty ofEuropean integration, the 1952 Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ESCS). The former ECSC Consultative Committee had carried out a great deal of useful work for the sectors in question. It is now perceived as a real model for concertation between social partners and public authorities. It fixed a decision-making process functioning on shared responsibilities. Itcreated a specific industrial policy. On the basis of Council recommendations and European Commission proposals, a new Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) has been installed within the European Economic and Social Committee. The CCMI makes it possible to hold a direct dialogue with the representatives of sectors and interest groups affected by industrial change. Its goal is to applythe lessons learnt from the restructuring of the coal and steel sectors to other industrial change processes.
Industrial policy at EU level and sector-specific approach
COM (2002) 714 final, Brussels 11.12.2002 For EMCC, see: http://www.eurofound.eu.int/emcc/emcc.htm ; For CCMI, see http://www.esc.eu.int/ccmi/index_en.htm
The opportunity to build up a European horizontalindustrial policy poses several connected questions in terms of policy mix. What is the global effect upon companies of energy policy, environmental measures, competition rules, or consumer rights protection? On the one hand, it results in strong drawbacks on investment and job creations. On the other hand, it fosters research and development, and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation. Inconnection with this, the role of public authorities at all levels has to be broken down into specific tasks. Their aim should be to create a company development driven framework, ensuring the efficient functioning of public support bodies. A common definition of restructuring relates to the process whereby the share of certain industrial sectors in GDP, employment, exports, etc., increases while the shareof other sectors fall. Traditional division between industrial sectors has become less clear. It has been replaced by new trends involving the interconnection of activities and of subcontracting. A sector-specific approach nonetheless appears helpful. Tools for analysing and monitoring sector competitiveness, such as benchmarking, could bring an added value while helping to anticipate industrialchange. Finally, targeted measures to enhance consultation and participation from all stakeholders, notably through social dialogue, are needed particularly towards companies active in EU accession countries. Enlargement In-depth attention has already been given by various actors to the economic and social consequences of enlargement, underlining the significant role to be played by organised...
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