President Juncker opened the 3rd annual edition of the EU Industry Days this morning with a keynote speech, in which he said: “This is about preparing us for the future.
Our economy is transforming before our eyes and the world around us is changing faster than ever. And if Europe is to succeed, it cannot afford to fight that transformation. Rather, it must be the first to adapt to it, the first to shape it. And I believe our industry can lead the way.” Looking back on the history of European competition rules, President Juncker recalled: “In nearly 30 years since the first European merger rules came into place, we have approved more than 6,000 deals – and blocked less than 30. We believe in competition – as long as it is fair for all. We will never play politics or play favourites when it comes to ensuring a level playing field.” In his address, President Juncker also spoke about the EU’s approach to trade: “We are not naïve free traders. We will not trade for the sake of it or compromise on our principles for a quick deal. I cannot accept that those who work hard to make ends meet suffer at the hands of those who dump, de-regulate or distort the market. This is why we have shown our teeth by raising tariffs on cheap steel coming from China or taken a no tolerance approach on the forced transfer of technology. It is why we have modernised our trade defence instruments and have just recently agreed new rules on screening foreign investment in areas that may affect security or public order.” The EU Industry Days are taking place in Brussel from 5-6 February 2019 and are the Commission’s annual flagship conference on industrial policy, which bring together key industry representatives, public authorities and civil society to discuss the future of EU industry against the backdrop of the Commission’s 2017 Renewed Industrial Policy Strategy. The full speech has been published here.