Europe must grow its manufacturing sector to stay competitive – study

20 May 2013

Europe must increase the size of its manufacturing sector and lead in energy efficiency, technology innovation and addressing the changing consumption patterns of consumers if it is to remain internationally competitive, a new study suggests.

The study by Accenture on behalf of BUSINESSEUROPE has been published in a report, Unlocking Industrial Opportunities. The research involved a survey of more than 500 C-level executives across the EU.

The report, presented to policy and business leaders at the European Business Summit in Brussels recently, reveals that 82pc of respondents believe Europe must raise manufacturing’s share of EU GDP by a quarter, from 16pc today to 20pc, in order to achieve long-term economic competitiveness.

Yet, 53 of survey respondents are not confident that current EU policies will help achieve this.
The results also reveal divergent views across Europe. Respondents in Germany are significantly more confident about Europe’s prospects for economic recovery and competitiveness. They are also optimistic that EU policies can help lift industrial output’s share of the economy.
“Europe is not homogeneous and the crisis has exposed different levels of competitiveness between countries,” said Mark Spelman, managing director at Accenture.

“While that has caused monetary tensions in the eurozone, this diversity is an asset that Europe must exploit if it is to achieve an industrial renaissance and maintain a range of competitive sectors. But diversity also means that policy responses must be increasingly tailored to the needs of individual economies.”

The report highlights technology innovation, energy efficiency and the changing consumer as threats, but European decision makers could turn these into growth opportunities.

“Energy, technology innovation and changing consumption patterns are potentially disruptive to Europe’s industry but also offer huge opportunity for growth and competitiveness,” said Spelman.

“By focusing on these three waves of change, Europe’s policy makers and businesses are more likely to boost manufacturing’s share of GDP. Such approaches in all three areas are helping the US economy regain manufacturing competitiveness. It is possible for Europe to do so, too.”
Manufacturing image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic