The European Union is planning to overhaul its industrial policy with the aim of creating an environment where European companies can do better at the global market. As a part of that plan, the EU wants to implement more stringent and protectionist antitrust regulations and prod companies to share more data, said reports quoting a policy document on this matter.
According to reports, this new policy which has been drafted by the European Commission and is scheduled to be made public in March this year, also contains proposals for provisions for a greater aggressive implementation of trade defense instruments against companies that are identified to be gaining market leverage unfairly from foreign subsidies.
“Our vision is not about shielding uncompetitive industries or encouraging protectionist policies … At the same time, the EU cannot be complacent about third countries or companies undermining fair competition in the single market on global markets,” the document said.
“This strategy sets the contours of a new and assertive industrial policy what will enable the EU to remain a global economic power,” it added.
Calls for the EU by many countries and companies in the block to create and follow a more ambitious and strategic industrial policy was made because of their complains that foreign companies were able to access the large and open European market without having to follow the same rules.
This was the argument that was presented for their failed merger attempt last year to create a European rail behemoth by the combining of the German conglomerate Siemens and French rival Alstom. The deal failed to gain EU antitrust approval.
Evaluation and review of EU competition rules will be conducted by the Commission under the new policy blueprint, with the aim of ensuring that the rules are fit for purpose and help in the development of a strong European industry in Europe as well as in the rest of the world.
Setting up a legal framework to facilitate the use, access to and sharing of data is also envisioned because of the fast growing data economy. This measure will prompt companies to adopt and use artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
More “Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI)” will also be promoted by the new policy changes and will help to make further gains from the success of an 8-billion-euro battery project which has been developed in partnership between seven EU countries and 17 European companies. The project was approved last year.
According to the report quoting the document, clean hydrogen technologies and low-carbon industries as well as microelectronics are the areas where such partnerships would potentially be set up.
The new policy document also reportedly has a warning for foreign governments who allegedly provide unfair support to domestic companies while creating barriers for foreign companies to access their markets. The document said that in addition to the existing tools, it could also create new ones to combat such situations as well as resort to customs controls.
“The EU will mobilize all relevant tools including rule-making, standards, international financial instruments, trade agreements, public procurement and intellectual property rights to leverage its strengths and advantages,” the document said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)