The EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, wants to put businesses back at the heart of the European Commission’s industrial strategy, with less emphasis on reducing consumer prices. EURACTIV France reports.
Breton set out his position on Europe’s industrial policy in a long interview with Le Figaro on 3 March.
“To date, it is rather the consumer who has been put forward. While reinforcing these achievements, it is now necessary to go further. Europe’s industrial policy cannot be conducted with the sole aim of reducing prices for the consumer,” he said, announcing the presentation of a new industrial strategy for 10 March.
The Commissioner wants to enable the emergence of world leaders in the EU. According to his speech, this would be achieved by avoiding the proliferation of cheap goods from places with fewer environmental and social constraints.
Breton also insisted on the objective of carbon neutrality, saying all EU policies must fall in line with this objective. The Commissioner wants companies to review their entire supply, logistics and manufacturing chains, taking into account the carbon footprint in the same way as it does the prices.
He also discussed his hobby horses, which include data, artificial intelligence and 5G.
In France, Bouygues Telecom has questioned the conditions for allocating frequencies. The Commissioner replied that the criteria had been decided at the European level.
“Everyone – the state, telecom operators and customers – should be aware and enlightened about what can characterise a high-risk 5G equipment manufacturer,” the Commissioner said, referring to Huawei’s bid for telecoms infrastructure, which Europeans wish to rein in for strategic reasons.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]