Commission presents results of initiative supporting regions in industrial transition


Today the Commission presents the first results of an initiative launched a year ago to support 10 EU regions and two Member States in industrial transition.

They applied to receive Commission support and expertise in achieving industrial transition and designing development strategies based on their areas of competitive strength – their so-called ‘smart specialisation‘ assets.

Over the past year, Commission experts sat down with national and regional authorities and diagnosed what was holding back job creation and growth. The first results of this initiative are the launch of 12 pilot schemes, one per region or Member State, to overcome specific obstacles to industrial transition. Each of these schemes presented today will receive a €300,000 EU grant.

Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “Based on the first results of this initiative, I invite all regions to replicate the experience in the future. They should identify weaknesses to address and assets to build on to haul themselves up the value chain in our globalised economy. To achieve this, they will have access to more than €90 billion of cohesion funding for research, innovation and small and medium businesses in the next long-term EU budget.”

Cantabria, Spain: Due to technological change, the regional agri-food sector has lost many jobs. With the EU grant, the region is launching a project on reskilling and professional inclusion in this sector.

Centre-Val de Loire, France: The region wants to adapt the skills of its people to the jobs of tomorrow. The EU-funded pilot scheme will help local small and medium businesses in traditional sectors develop knowledge and digital skills.

Grand Est, France: To achieve the transition towards a low-carbon economy, the region will use the EU grant to set up a hub testing solutions for energy transition in local companies.

Hauts-de-France, France: To adapt to digital and technological change, the region will use the grant to help local innovative small and medium businesses include digital technologies in their production processes or product design.

Lithuania: The EU grant will help introduce a circular economy roadmap across the whole Lithuanian industry.

East-North Finland, Finland: The region will helps its companies make use of innovation produced by other actors, like universities or start-ups incubators. The region is launching a pilot scheme to promote and finance interregional innovation in the forestry and wood industry.

Greater Manchester, United Kingdom: The region will use the EU grant to develop and test a ‘Good Employment Charter’ aiming to improve skills, job quality, productivity and wages in local companies.

North-Middle Sweden, Sweden: To achieve the transition towards a low-carbon, circular economy, the region will set up a lab working on resource-efficient solutions for local businesses.

Piedmont, Italy: The region wishes to promote open innovation and develop financing mechanisms for innovation. With the EU grant, it will test new solutions in the management and financing of local industrial clusters and in the regional diffusion of innovation.

Saxony, Germany: The region will use the EU grant to seek new business models that will help decarbonise the regional automotive industry.

Slovenia: The country will set up a collaborative online and physical platform in order to develop the Slovenian industry 4.0., which includes areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, big data or robotics.

Wallonia, Belgium: The region will test new solutions in the area of plastics, from production to consumption and recycling, and will promote circular processes for plastics in local small and medium businesses.


While the benefits of globalisation are widely spread, the costs are often localised. Some regions have reaped the benefits of growing trade opportunities, while others still struggle to adapt and embrace the innovation, digitisation, decarbonisation and skills needed to hold their own in this globalised economy.

These 12 regions and Member States have many things in common. They all lost industrial jobs in the past 15 years but have assets to build on and a willingness to transform their economy. In July 2017, the Commission presented a Communication on ‘Strengthening innovation in EU regions’ and launched two initiatives: one on industrial transition, which results are presented today, and one on setting interregional partnership for innovation, which results were presented in December 2017.

More information

Brochure – Industrial transition: no regions left behind

Factsheet – An EU industry fit for the future

Press release – Regions to benefit from new EU support in building resilient economies (September 2017)

Press release – Commission gives new support to help industrial transition regions build resilient and low-carbon economies (December 2017)

Press release – More Commission support for industrial regions to build resilient and competitive economies (March 2018)