04 Mar 2021

Masters of Digital 2021: The EU Industrial Strategy must set a path of investment and green goals

Masters of Digital 2021

As Europe looks to recover from the pandemic fallout, a stronger and more sustainable industry can be the foundations on which to build. The focus session “The future of industry” at Masters of Digital 2021 brought together top policymakers and industry leaders to discuss the steps that will bring us there.

Foundational to this panel was the expertise we draw from DIGITALEUROPE’s Digital Manufacturing Executive Council (DMEC), the key driver of our work on industry sustainability and industrial data sharing.

Patrik Sjöstedt, EMEA Regional Business Leader for Microsoft, captured how the EU Green Deal has acted as a wake-up call for the European industry, making it clear that sustainability and economic growth are not in contradiction – indeed, green business is profitable business.

Now the challenge is to translate this vision into national and local policies: the Commission’s updated Industrial Strategy is integral to addressing this, with a clear investment and standardization vision on the green-digital nexus.

The Future of Industry session also shone a light on the industrial data-sharing concepts that are at the core of GAIA-X’s vision: in order for Europe to reinvent its industry post-COVID, the panel agreed, we need a trusted environment for industrial data sharing. GAIA-X can offer this but, to succeed, it needs all Member States on board. Rather than 27 different versions of GAIA-X, Europe needs a unique set of trusted rules.

Dieter Wegener, Vice Chair of DMEC, stressed that Europe cannot ride the next wave of manufacturing data without solving practical questions, like how to enable SMEs to use data.

This concepted was shared by Alain Dedieu, Chair of DMEC and President of Water Management at Schneider Electric, who concluded: “A trusted, secure data environment is the core of productivity. Scale matters: we need investments and to bring SMEs onboard”.

Kerstin Jorna, Director-General, DG GROW, European Commission

“The biggest conundrum facing the Recovery Fund today is to identify the right projects. Money should be invested, not just spent. We need to open up business opportunities by bringing together market players and investors.”

There was a specific focus on the need for openness when updating our industrial strategy. The Recovery and Resilience Facility can live up to its ambitions only if Member States present projects that create business opportunities. This innovation focus is still missing in national plans, Wegener added.

Kerstin Jorna, Director-General of the Commission’s DG GROW, explored how collaboration between investors and market actors can be the precondition for RRF success. Trade only occurs with trust, she commented, and thus it seems that industry guidance is needed: “The biggest conundrum facing the Recovery Fund today is to identify the right projects. Money should be invested, not just spent. We need to open up business opportunities by bringing together market players and investors. That’s often missing today and the Commission wants to address this”.

Watch the full panel discussion

Masters of Digital 2021: Focus Session “The future of industry: Preparing for the new normal”

For more information, please contact:
Aida Khalilova
Communications Officer
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