The calendar tells us it’s holiday season, yet it seems this summer has barely left time to catch a breath. July was a whirlwind of activity here in Brussels: from the first sessions of the freshly elected European Parliament to the nomination of new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. And August has brought little sign of a slowdown on the political stage; on the contrary, with a new government in the UK and rising trade tensions between the US and China, there is still plenty keeping EU policymakers awake at night.
Whether navigating the shifting geopolitical landscape, seeking to safeguard growth against rising protectionism, or answering urgent challenges like climate change (brought into sharp relief by recent heatwaves in Brussels and beyond): the course EU leaders set in the coming months will shape the future of Europe for a generation. It is encouraging to see their ambitions are high, as clear from the European Council’s ‘New Strategic Agenda 2019-2024’ and President-Elect von der Leyen’s political guidelines for the next Commission. To deliver, however, it will be essential to tap into the innovation and economic strength of Europe’s world-leading industry. With industry so integral to the fabric of our lives – from how we power our homes to the medical care we receive or how we get from A to B – it is impossible to separate the EU’s future wellbeing and prosperity from the future of the technology companies that make it possible.
Kicking off a new series ‘From the DG’s desk’, I have been taking a look at how our industries can contribute to the objectives that matter most to Europeans: ranging from protecting citizens and values, to economic growth, to shaping a climate-neutral future. We’re looking forward to discussing these priorities further with policymakers at our September events with the European Forum for Manufacturing at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and in Brussels, and of course at our flagship November conference ‘Reinventing Europe’s industrial leadership’. We hope that many of you will join the conversation!
Wishing you an enjoyable last few weeks of summer,