EU reforms aid policy

Manufacturers of cars, chemicals and microchips are expected to be among those who lose out as a result of expected changes in European Commission industrial policies. The new commissioners, whose appointments should be confirmed later this month, have signalled a move away from the sectoral approach towards a grants system that encourages private enterprise in […]

Manufacturers of cars, chemicals and microchips are expected to be among those who lose out as a result of expected changes in European Commission industrial policies.

The new commissioners, whose appointments should be confirmed later this month, have signalled a move away from the sectoral approach towards a grants system that encourages private enterprise in general.

This transformation in EU industrial policy has been suggested by the nominated commissioner for enterprise and the information society, Erkki Liikanen, the Finn whose job will incorporate the responsibilities held by former industry commissioner Martin Bangemann.

In his reply to a questionnaire from the European Parliament, Liikanen said that special treatment from the EU would now be restricted to a few industries – aeronautics and defence, steel, shipbuilding, food and pharmaceuticals.

He wrote: `The concept of industrial competitiveness policy… is horizontal: its objective is to create a favourable environment for the development of economic activities as a whole in the context of markets which are open to international competition.’

MEPs vote on 15 September on the appointments.