New Industrial Revolution and New Sustainable Industry Policy of European Union


This article is about raising awareness on the recent developments in the global economy and position of Europe, as being one of the foremost actors of the...

New Industrial Revolution and New Sustainable Industry Policy of European Union

Yusuf FIRINCI*[1]

This article is about raising awareness on the recent developments in the global economy and position of Europe, as being one of the foremost actors of the competitive arena. Republic of Turkey believes in “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” principle. This requires being powerful, accompanying global trends and improving neighbourhood policies. For Countries, there is always need of examining today, predicting accurately future, improving necessary policies and implementing these policies within accurate programs. This article aims to contribute Turkish development process by examining some of the recent policies of Europe.

Having been the parties of interaction for decades, we must closely watch and get in part of the innovative improvements in Europe.  The ideology of Europeans shall enlighten us since they are more passionate in making every effort to contribute their development in global competitive world as well as being one of the foremost economic, political and technological power of the world. Hopefully some of the recent achievements and trends shared via recent European publications[2] will contribute us to achieve our “real peace at home and real peace in the world” motto.

Global economy competitors are forecasting that 21st century will witness a new “Industrial Revolution”. New actors in the global economy are challenging to transform the ongoing process and increase their share and power in the arena. However, Europe has been taking the necessary precautions and investing in reindustrialization. Watching the trends and predicting accurate forecasts, Europe works really hard for programming the steps to ensure the necessary conditions for the sustainable reindustrialization. The most important steps seem to be the development of investments needed in new technologies and rebuilding a climate of confidence and entrepreneurship.

Europe is working on outweighing the positives to negatives and turning the threads of globalization into opportunities. From wind turbines to cars, many of Europe’s signature products are now partly manufactured by new industrial players. Thanks to the successful policies, Europe has managed to protect her international competitiveness and has gained advantages from globalization. “Value chain positioning[3]” aided by advances in cross border transport, enables certain tasks and parts of European firms’ production processes to be carried out in other parts of the world. In this type of production process, a car part may be made in Asia, but the car still remains European- as the bulk of revenue. This allows Europe to reap the benefits of products produced abroad despite the rise of developing industrial powers.

After taking necessary steps, Europe took the leadership in the world in energy-efficiency gains in exports and European manufacturing firms have become global frontrunners in energy-efficiency innovation activities and investments in clean and more energy-efficient products. Also despite the increased competition from new industrial markets, Europe kept its leadership in the world in both exports and foreign direct investment. This means that more foreign countries and foreign companies invest in the Europe than anywhere else. Foreign direct investments generate new jobs and increase productivity, bringing the opportunity of creating more goods, more efficiently transforming Europe an even more attractive place to invest.

Europe has been working on an action plan for a new sustainable industrial policy since the last months of 2012. Within the commitment of supporting industry and delivering growth, Europe focused on boosting entrepreneurship by unleashing Europe’s entrepreneurial potential and making entrepreneurship attractive and accessible prospect for people[4]. The action plan stresses the key role of education and training and aims to revolutionize entrepreneurial culture with support mechanisms including access to finance, Research & Development coaching, reducing administrative burden and more.

Evaluating recent global economic trends precisely, Europe focused on supporting SMEs and industry to fully exploit the potential of fast growing emerging markets. After defining the aim and target, they initiated the actions without wasting time. Europeans organized missions for growth accompanied by delegations of companies and industry associations.

Without question, I think these missions are showing us how our own country’s responsible institutions shall act like. The mission visits are designed to help companies; SMEs internationalize their activities and better engage with so-called “emerging markets”. The visits are aimed on reinforcing industrial cooperation in areas such as industrial innovation, key enabling technologies, tourism and access to raw materials.  The mission visits are accompanied by up to 50 representatives of industry associations and companies.

Proposing reliable foreign investment to local actors and authorities, European companies aim to benefit from easier access to external markets. These international activities supposed to increase SME performance, enhance competitiveness, reinforce growth and support long-term sustainability.

New sustainable industry policy also includes actions for standardization which reduces technical barriers to trade, improves economic, scientific and technical relations and ensures the compatibility and interoperability of products.

In the very beginning of new industry policy, concrete results in the field of standardization have already been obtained. Between Europe and China, Standards Information Platform[5] web portal that offers a progressive way to enhance collaboration was launched. It provides bilingual information to European and Chinese businesses on everything from technical regulations to market access requirements. More than 4500 European Standards, 3000 Chinese National Standards and 16000 Chinese Industry Sector Standards are referenced readily accessible and free of charge.

The other main item of the policy is related with the supply of raw materials to downstream industries[6]. Regarding this issue, a dialogue is planned to promote mutual understanding, enhance bilateral cooperation and foster the exchange of information on raw materials and mining policies. Also about cooperation in tourism policy, I find the target of reinforcement of socio-economic knowledge very important and unique.

Even though one of the concrete results of the mission growth initiative was the cooperation between a French-German company and Chile in the field of highly efficient photovoltaic power generation, cooperation with China to improve energy efficiency in industry seems more important to me.  The two parties established a working group of “Industrial Energy Efficiency & Green Gas Emission Reduction”

The estimation of global market for environmental goods and services is to be around €1000 billion per annum and this is expected to double or even triple by 2020. So the EU-China working group focused on improving the areas like[7]; measurement  of CO₂ emissions, capacity for energy management, eco-design, scope and impact of remanufacturing, solid waste, cataloguing existing projects, industrial energy efficiency area and market conditions.

Even though the collaboration on establishing “EU-China Green Business Development” seems one of the most important achievements of the new policy, European Commission’s initiative for the protection and assisting European SMEs in China seems also extremely clever.

Being aware of the opportunities in China accompanied by some challenges like complicated legal and administrative framework and problems with protection of intellectual property rights, European Commission succeeded establishing very important instruments collaborating with Chinese counterparts. 

China Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) SME Helpdesk[8] ensures the SMEs know before they go. The companies can invest and trade safely and they know their IPR rights and risks. The helpdesk offers latest news and challenges of IPR in China, as well suggestions about dos and don’ts of IP strategy. On the other hand, EU SME Centre also helps European SMSs particularly at the crucial early stages of their market penetration strategy, supporting them to establish a commercial presence in Chinese market, facilitating coordination and networking events[9]. Also five consortia of the Enterprise Europe Network are assisting European SMEs in China.

I think above-mentioned policies, practices and initiatives are very good examples of how to select the fields which are crucial for a country and develop accurate strategies for these crucial fields and how to initiate that accurate strategies by working passionately. I hope our institutions shall operate more efficiently like the European institutions and also take the advantage of being a close partner and a candidate country of European Union.

On the other hand Europe has initiated a system for enterprises to exchange data and avoid compatibility problems among trading partners. European pilot project demonstrate common information and communication technology systems for the supply chain of the automotive industry as well as for the transport and logistics sector enable SMEs to profit from global digital supply chains[10].

Also one another initiative is about avoiding technical barriers to trade with nations outside Europe. Thanks to Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT), a notification system provided a new technical regulations and conformity assessments envisaged by other countries before the measures are adopted. This agreements helps prevent unfair, protectionist measures in cooperation with World Trade Organization. European businesses are alerted by e-mail about potential new regulations in particular sectors.

One last action I would like to mention is cooperation with United States about “crowd funding” to improve access to finance start-up companies, inventions development and scientific research. EU and US signed Memorandum of Understanding on promoting cooperation[11]. For me, the most interesting item about cooperation is “crowd funding” whereby investors undertake a collective effort in networking and pooling their resources via the Internet. Also improving “Cluster Alliance” and understanding challenges of the “global value chain” has crucial importance.

Recognizing the proceedings in the global economy and its actors’ precautions, strategies and hard work, I hope every authority and even every citizen in Turkey shall work seriously hard to achieve the duty of “bringing knowledge even it is in China” and develop proactive policies before it is too late in this new era of Industrial Revolution.

“Europa Progressio, Türkiye Progressio”


[1] * Yusuf Fırıncı is a Culture and Tourism Expert in the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, working since 2004. The other studies are; Evaluation of State Aids in the perpective of EU and Turkish Tourism Sector(2008), EU 2020 Targets, Innovation Union (Ankara University,2012)

[2] Enterprise & Industry Magazine, Issue No. 15, ISSN 1831-1237, European Commission DG Enterprise Industry, February 2013, Luxembourg.

[3] [last visited 07 April 13].

[5]  [last visited 07 April 13].

[8] [last visited 07 April 13].

[9] [last visited 07 April 13].


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