Von der Leyen: Let's make Europe more competitive in the world

The EC President delivered opening speech at the EU Industry Days 2021

Photo: EU Ursula von der Leyen.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen opened on Tuesday the EU Industry Days 2021 delivering a speech in which she praised the European industry its resilience amidst the coronavirus pandemic, while highlighting that we needed to draw the lessons from the crisis.

She highlighted that Europe the global leader in green innovation, saying that since the beginning of the century, it has produced over 60,000 high-value green inventions. “This is more than any other global power, and six times more than China.”

She also underlined that one fourth of industrial robots in the world are produced in Europe and that the EU is global leader for collaborative robots that do not replace workers, but enhance their skills.

The EC head said that “the pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption of our Single Market and this should never happen again”. She explained that this is the reason why the Commission is working on a Single Market Emergency Instrument.

“It will ensure the free movement of goods, services and people, with greater transparency and coordination.”

Von der Leyen also addressed some of the challenges ahead for the industrial sector, noting namely the lessons learnt on the dependency on certain raw materials sourced from only a handful of producers.

Green and digital technologies currently depend on a number of scarce raw materials. “We must diversify our supply chains. This is the goal of our Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials. And this is why we have proposed to create a European Raw Materials Alliance.”

The EC President referred to the successful public-private cooperation of the last year, when fighting the virus were explored new ways of working with European industries.

I believe we should move from crisis mode to a new cruising speed of cooperation with European industries, she said, adding that building new and agile alliances where the public sector joins forces with industry.

“Our Battery Alliance makes for a very good example. I want Europe to invest in this approach – building new alliances and partnerships with the private sector,” von der Leyen opined.

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