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EU Industry Days 2023

EU Industry Days 2023 took place on 4-6 October in Málaga, Spain

Europe’s flagship event dedicated to EU industry landed in 2023 in Málaga, Spain

Green and digital transition

As the world electrifies, this is our chance to stand out and make a real impact.”

– Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Skeleton Technologies

The implementation of the Green Deal Industrial Plan and the Net-zero Industry Act were key topics of this year’s edition. In view of ensuring a widespread deployment of net-zero technologies, several speakers highlighted the need to accelerate and harmonise permitting procedures across the EU. Some speakers also pointed out that the manufacturing of clean technologies is currently concentrated in a few Member States and should be extended, in parallel with the reinforcement of the EU electricity grid. And some also called for greater dynamism in the public procurement system and stressed that the latter should take onboard other criteria beyond price competitiveness, like data residency and cybersecurity. The topic of digital transition also came into the spotlight, making it clear that “there is no green transition without the digital transition”, as stated by Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE. Speakers emphasized this point by saying that for most companies, including net-zero manufacturers, having a digital resilience strategy is critical.


“It’s not only about investing more money in the transition. It’s about finding new ways of spending the money that is already available.”

 – Nicolas Brien, President of the European Startup Network

Between 2021 and 2027, the EU budget – including NextGenerationEU – is projected to contribute 578 billion euros for climate spending, but this funding needs to be complemented by different initiatives. One of the key messages from the event was that clear regulations that offer certainty are essential to attract investors. Panellists also noted that public funding needs to be accompanied by private funding, and the former can act as a catalyst for the latter. Speakers put forward the example of InvestEU and the Innovation Fund, which have mobilised venture capital. And several people expressed their wish of seeing the Capital Markets Union come to life, including former Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta. A key conclusion was that advancing the CMU is industrial policy.

Single Market and Ukraine

“The Single Market is not just a business of the past: it is a business of the future.”

– Enrico Letta, President of the Jacques Delors Institute

Against the backdrop of the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, industrial frontrunners and SME representatives alike called for the harmonisation of the legislative frameworks across all Member States and  for a reduction of administrative burdens. Overall, stakeholders called for a higher focus on efficient implementation and a reinforcement of infringement procedures as opposed to the acceleration of new legislation. This is key to bring down costs and support scale-up of net zero and emerging technologies. As Bianca Dragomir, Director of Cleantech for Iberia stated, “in order to be and remain competitive, the EU needs to work on the speed, scale and simplicity of rules within the Single Market.” Ukrainian stakeholders also gathered in Málaga and called for EU companies to continue investing and placing orders in Ukraine. To that end, the Agreement on the Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products was highlighted as an important tool to complete Ukraine’s integration into the Single Market and ensure that EU and Ukrainian companies “speak the same language”.


“Science is fun, science is crazy, we need to inspire people.”

Peter Wennink, CEO of ASML

A key takeaway from the event was that Europe is also the continent of talent. According to UN Education Index, 10 EU Member States are among top 20 performing countries worldwide. EIB Vice-President Mourinho stressed the importance of skills for our competitiveness: “Companies will choose to stay in Europe because this is where they find the knowledge base they need.” Some of the event’s panellists stressed the importance of guaranteeing the “right to be trained”. There was consensus on the need to push for the adoption of the right education curricula to supply the future labour force with the skills that EU industry needs. Stakeholders called for closer cooperation between industry and universities.

Open strategic autonomy

“Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships.”

– Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis

Another important message from the event is that Europe needs to position itself as a socioeconomic block which strives for rules-based competition and trade. According to some of the panellists, this principle should be reflected in our long-term partnerships with third countries. Following this line of thinking, some speakers pointed to the adoption of EU norms and standards by our trade partners as facilitators of trade and investment flows.  Stakeholders stressed that open strategic autonomy is not only about promoting and protecting our industry but also establishing strategic partnerships with like-minded countries.