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Innovation and digitisation are key to Europe's future competitiveness, industrialists say

Industry remains the backbone of the European economy, contributing more than 30 per cent of GDP growth and more than 80 per cent of private R&D spending, a report published by the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) shows.

2017-02-03 12:54:54

The document warns against protectionism and a rapidly increasing number of potentially trade restrictive measures. As a main conclusion of the report, innovation and digitisation, the core levers for future growth and competitiveness, require a serious rethink of national and European policies to prevent the region from falling behind.

Commenting on the report, Kurt Bock, chairman of BASF and chair of the ERT Competitiveness Working Group, said: "The European Union is a unique achievement bringing European countries closer together and improving the welfare of its citizens overall. We must not forget this and must build on the benefits of a strong Europe. However, past achievements are no guarantee of future success. New competition is on the rise, global growth expectations are decreasing and most of the growth is taking place outside Europe. To adapt to these new developments Europe must increase efforts in the field of innovation, digitisation and strive for free trade and access to foreign markets."

To boost competitiveness, ERT calls for: a) a strengthening of the internal market, by completing the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union and the Capital Markets Union; b) stimulating innovation and adoption of new technologies as the main driver of sustained economic growth in Europe. Evaluation of every legislation and policy measure with respect its impact on innovation throughout the policymaking process; c) ensuring access to foreign markets while maintaining a level playing field; d) unleashing the benefits of digitisation by investing in digital infrastructure, key technologies and skills development; supported by a robust regulatory framework, covering security in cyberspace; e) enabling start-ups to scale up by boosting entrepreneurship, access to funding and cutting red tape.



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