Manufacturing is the most important source of economic development and growth. The economic importance of manufacturing goes far beyond its contribution to GDP, for which the European Commission has put forward a target of 20 %. The manufacturing industry in the EU is worth € 7.000 billion in turnover and it accounts for 80% of the total EU exports and 80 % of the private R&D expenditure. Moreover, it provides jobs for 30 million employees directly and is the source for twice as many jobs indirectly, the vast majority in small or medium-sized enterprises. To maintain its importance the industry in Europe needs modernisation. Last year the contribution of manufacturing to EU GDP has declined to 15.1 %. To be able to reverse this trend and start an Industrial Renaissance in Europe, we need more investment in innovation, resource efficiency, new technologies and skills. In the conclusions of the European Council of 20-21 March 2014, the Heads of State and Government underlined that industrial competitiveness should be at the centre of policy-making at all levels. It is an important signal for both the public and the business sector, to which they should respond with specific measures facilitating the industrial change. That’s why advanced manufacturing is one of the six priority areas for the modernisation of industry in the European Union. The market uptake of advanced manufacturing and clean technologies can improve productivity, resource efficiency and competitiveness in any manufacturing sector. To speed up this process a dedicated Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing for Clean Production was created in 2013. One year after its creation, the Task Force has drawn up a set of targeted actions aimed at advancing the European industry. In order to give Europe a competitive lead in the new industrial revolution, we need to engage in a partnership between the European Commission, Member States and industry. Europe needs industry and industry needs Europe. Get prepared for the future of manufacturing!
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