Working Papers

O. Fontana, S. Vannuccini: How to institutionalise European industrial policy (for strategic autonomy and the green transition)

This paper presents some novel ideas on the tools and financing of a truly supranational industrial policy in the European Union (EU). We begin by reviewing the evolving rationales for industrial policy, and highlight the growing acceptance of a pro-active role of the State in the economy as a response to external challenges of global scale and transformative impact, with the climate emergency at the forefront. At this historical juncture, a polycrisis and a permacrisis are reshaping globalisation, fuelling rivalries and interventions aimed at increasing autonomy and sovereignty over strategic assets. We posit that the European Union (EU) can break this zero-sum game by institutionalising a European industrial policy, and we claim that this can be done successfully through the establishment of instruments characterised by a pure European public good nature. Our proposal suggests the creation of a framework fund on the model of the NGEU, with the ‘Europeanisation’ of the Important Projects of Common European Interest and better designed centrally managed programmes. We underline the importance of linking the design of industrial policy with the discussion of the Union’s own resources, since in Europe there will be no real strategic autonomy without real fiscal autonomy.

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