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European Initiatives

The European Industrial Strategy was launched on 10 March 2020 by the European Commission with a clear mandate of supporting EU industry to lead the way in the transition towards climate neutrality and increased connectivity and digitalisation across sectors and EU Member States. One day following the announcement of the EU Industrial Strategy, the United Nations' World Health Organisation (WHO) agency classified the COVID-19 health crisis as a global pandemic. 

EU Industrial Strategy context

The EU Industrial Strategy includes actions that aim to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups and accelerate the digital and green transition, whilst supporting employment and reducing regulatory barriers for companies. In this context, the Strategy also addresses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on European economy and society, including its effect on various ecosystems, companies and SMEs. SMEs are particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis: 60% reported a fall in annual turnover and overall revenue in 2020 and around 1.4 million employees of SMEs were laid off. In addition, around half of companies are expected to invest less in 2021, with trade between EU Member States decreasing with 24% during the second half of 2020. According to current estimates, the COVID-19 impact has reduced EU economy with more than 6%. In addition, the COVID-19 crisis has forced shut European borders, putting a temporary stop to the free movement of people, goods and services and disrupting global supply chains, shifting demand and reducing the availability of essential products and services. 

Key priorities  

  • Maintaining European competitiveness in a global context and ensuring a level playing field both in Europe and beyond. 
  • Reaching climate neutrality by 2050. 
  • Shaping Europe's Digital Future. 


  • Launching actions that aim to support and strengthen the European Single Market's resilience and stability, including: 
    • A Single Market Emergency Instrument to promote European fundamental freedoms and the availability of key products and services
    • Deepening of the EU Single Market by harmonising standards, strengthening the digitalisation of market surveillance and additional measures to support the business development of SMEs. 
  • Monitoring and managing dependencies to offer support to the European Open Strategic Autonomy, anticipating supply chain shortages and improving European autonomy in key areas. Other actions in this context include:
    • Establishing diverse international partnerships and facilitating EU-global trade and investment to strengthen European resilience
    • Promoting industrial alliances as a tool to attract private investors and stimulate the formation of business partnerships and innovative models in a transparent and open manner, in line with EU competition rules that aim to stimulate employment and the creation of more jobs. In this context, the European Commission is launching alliances between industrial stakeholders in data, edge and cloud computing.  

Actions and measures 

  • An Intellectual Property Action Plan to support EU tech sovereignty and strengthen actions against intellectual property theft and cyber crime. 
  • Promoting fair competition at home and abroad and maximising use of the trade defence mechanism toolbox. 
  • A comprehensive set of actions aiming to modernise and decarbonise heavily energy-intensive industries, and support sustainable and smart mobility industries.
  • Preventing carbon leakage and increasing the supply of low-carbon energy by removing market barriers. 
  • Supporting the development of strategic digital infrastructures and key enabling technologies.
  • A Clean Hydrogen Alliance, and planned future Alliances on Low-Carbon Industries and on Industrial Clouds and Platforms and raw materials.
  • Proposing further legislation and guidance on green public procurement.
  • A renewed focus on innovation, investment and skills.

Initiative Details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Finance, banking and insurance
Management and administration
Work skills
Environment not further defined
Earth sciences
Database and network design and administration
Software and applications development and analysis
Engineering, manufacturing and construction not further defined
Environmental protection technology
Electricity and energy
Manufacturing and processing not further defined
Medical diagnostic and treatment technology
Transport services
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative