European Union

EU Executive Outlines Bid for New Industrial 'Revolution'

"Our goal is that industry represents 20% of gross domestic product across the European Union in 2020, compared to 16.6% today," EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani told a press conference.

The European Commission on Wednesday set out what it said were plans for a "revolution" to re-industrialize Europe and boost economic growth, though many countries' austerity budgets limit investment possibilities.

"Our goal is that industry represents 20% of gross domestic product across the European Union in 2020, compared to 16.6% today," EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani told a press conference.

"For years, we have made the mistake of putting the accent only on the financial and service sectors," he said.

"We must convince governments to reverse this trend and avoid making choices that make doubling back impossible."

Tajani will argue for what a press statement said should be a "revolution" during talks between EU industry ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday.

He acknowledged that "the Commission can advise, but it cannot impose" its position.

The aim is to focus investment around key sectoral pillars including: advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production; bio-based product markets; sustainable construction and raw materials; low-emission vehicles and smart energy grids.

The Commission has already said trillions are needed in core investment areas to join the dots and complete cross-border networks in the key growth-generating sectors of energy, transport and telecommunications.

Stretched national budgets have already led to a push by big EU states to slash the overall EU budget over the rest of the decade, with a big fight expected at a special summit called on the issue in November.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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