It's time for an empowering EU Industrial Strategy

There is no European Union without the EU Single Market. It is of paramount importance for the EU, crucial to remaining a relevant actor in the global arena, to have a clear industrial plan outlined.

There is no European Union without the EU Single Market. It is of paramount importance for the EU, crucial to remaining a relevant actor in the global arena, to have a clear industrial plan outlined. This is what the EU industrial strategy, to be published today, is expected to be laying out. However, according to comments on a draft, the document would leave little room for concrete actions.

At the EU institutions top levels, there is an agreement on the need to enforce the EU single market. However, there are plenty of examples of practices and initiatives arising in the EU that would instead harm its functioning. “To us, legislation must work in practice. We hear a lot of stances on the importance of the EU Single Market for the jobs market, the economy and our innovative drive, but facts tell a different story” commented Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA’s Director General. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a proposal from the EU Commission to impose a tax on carbon emitted by some materials coming into the EU, stands for one. APPLiA has commented on the initiative in this video, explaining why the problem of carbon leakage would be worsened and European competitiveness be negatively impacted, if the proposal stays as it is.

Again, some EU Member countries, led by France, are putting forward proposals on the circular economy that are set to raise barriers within the Single Market. Others include the mandatory microfibers filters for washing machines required by January 2025, legislated by France in isolation and before any investigations were made at the EU level, and the prohibition of the "biodegradable" claim on products and packaging. In Spain, a specific legislation on product lifespan labelling and critical components, alongside the introduction of a mandatory Green Dot, the revision of the Extended Producer Responsibility and the packaging Regulations are currently under discussion.

“As a sector, we have flagged the issue many times”, continued Mr Falcioni, “reaching out directly to the EU Commission to stress the fact that such legislation should be discussed at European level first.” Despite the efforts, APPLiA observes a trend of initiatives that would end up demolishing the functioning of the EU Single Market. As a result, the strength of the Union would be compromised and that would have repercussions for European industry’s competitiveness in the global market.