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Caspian Energy Journal Caspian European Club
Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:00

Progress in industrial competitiveness per EU country

The 2014 Member States’ Competitiveness Report "Reindustrialising Europe" found that European firms fought hard to maintain their competitiveness during the crisis originating in 2008. However, despite these efforts, without appropriate action at EU and MemberState level the severe legacy of the crisis cannot be overcome, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the press-service of the European Commission.

 

Aggregate data demonstrates the recovery of exports and an increase in productivity in most Member States. However this positive data at EU level masks considerable differences between the performance and policies of MemberStates and sectors. The report indicates that many factors which hinder competiveness are common across Member States. Examples include lack of investment, limited access to finance and access to markets, in particular for SMEs; high energy prices, and the need for a more business friendly environment and a public administration.

 

Manufacturing and the legacy of the crisis

The financial crisis underlined the importance of the real economy and a strong industrial base to achieve the growth and competitiveness needed to sustain and strengthen the EU's recovery, and to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 agenda.

 

Since 2008, 3.5 million jobs have been lost in manufacturing, and the pressure of external competition on prices has led to a deterioration of margins in a number of Member States. In addition, investment dynamics have been slowed by decreasing demand and reduced credit availability. Manufacturing's share of the EU gross value added diminished from 15.8% in 2008 to 15.1% in 2013, as against the target of 20% in 2020.

 

It is important to combat the decline in manufacturing as it plays a major role in the EU's economic success. Industry accounts for over 80% of Europe’s exports, private research and innovation. Nearly one in four private-sector jobs is in industry. These are often highly skilled and each additional job in manufacturing creates 0.5-2 jobs in other sectors.

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