Force Conference Session 2
Professor Lois Labrianidis, Chair of the Academic Committee of the FORCE project, opened the session presenting the key-issues examined in the FORCE working/background paper: De-industrialisation & re-industrialisation in the digital era.
Mr Labrianidis stressed the importance of a new industrial restart for the E.U, in the context of the new technological revolution, and the necessity to prioritise manufacturing and core-periphery cohesion. This strategic priority can be successfully implemented if only three essential broad ‘prerequisites’ are duly taken into account by European institutions and policy makers. These are:
– The “natural prerequisite”, i.e. mitigating global warming and generally environmental degradation.
– The “social prerequisite”, i.e. tackling corporate gigantism, booming inequality, increasing part time and precarious employment (sometimes connected with the new platform economy) and prioritising social needs
– The “international prerequisite”, i.e. promoting a climate of international cooperation in order to avoid upcoming geopolitical clashes and global existential dangers for humanity.
Dr. Dimitrios Pontikakis (Economist, Fiscal Policy Analysis team of the Directorate for Growth and Innovation, Joint Research Centre, European Commission) presented its reflections on the paper of Mr Labrianidis by focusing on four key-topics:
– The need for an industrial policy for Europe and for re-discovering planning capabilities.
– The importance of directionality which will provide optimistic and shared visions, long term certainty, foster non-priced coordination and encourage high ambition.
– The definition of the appropriate policy and operational framing based on the needs and peculiarities of each individual system.
– Complementing supply-side policies by integrating the role of demand as a key area for industrial development and industrial transition.
Following his presentation, Dr. Pontikakis provided an interesting overview of recent JRC work on Industrial Transitions such as Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainability (S4) and Projecting Opportunities for Industrial Transitions (POINT).
The session concluded with the presentation of Dr. Antonis Aggelakis, Research Associate at the Small Enterprises’ Institute of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen, and Merchants (IME GSEVEE). Mr Aggelakis provided a detailed and comprehensive review of the FORCE working paper on industrial policy by focusing, among others, on issues related to the challenges met by SMEs.
Most specifically, Mr Angelakis highlighted:
– The limited level of investments on digital technologies.
– The narrow and piecemeal understanding on digital technologies.
– The heterogeneity of technology adoption rates according to the size of enterprises, their sector (e.g. born-digital/high-tech vs low tech sectors), etc.
– The need to elaborate multi-level and fine-grained policies focused on SME’s technological advancement including new technological equipment adoption, novel funding instruments, infrastructures/innovation spaces, skills, clusters and synergies.