Progressive industrial policy for the EU?

Collection of essays from different authors and countries

Outmanoeuvring neoliberalism

Why the European Union needs a genuinely progressive industrial policy

The warmest decade on record in Europe fell between the years of 2002 and 2011. Statistics show that heatwaves and floods are on the rise. Southern Europe in particular is suffering from low river levels, and the agricultural sector is plagued by heat and water shortages. Crop yields are expected to fall in southern Europe, a region that has suffered from a massive wave of de-industrialisation since the global financial crisis hit in 2007. Those are just a few examples of drastic climate change, each of which shows how the climate crisis is slowly but surely making itself felt in the EU. A major reduction in CO2 emissions is vital. Europe needs to decrease consumption of fossil fuels, i.e. coal and gas.

The second major crisis of 2016 is the crisis of the western democracies. The nations of the West arrived in the post-democratic era long ago. An even worse situation looms if they fail to find non-authoritarian solutions to the major challenges of our age. In such an era, the question of good and sustainable work, i.e. dignified jobs with gender-equal pay, is more important than ever. The alternative to a just transition would be to continue on the path towards a climate catastrophe.

The progressive forces in the European Union need to implement a genuinely vertical industrial policy that provides for good jobs and good pay in all (!) the regions of the EU for the benefit of the other 99%, and which helps all residents of the EU to live in dignity. Parties, trade unions and social movements need to work together and make every effort to ensure that our economies transition to a sustainable economic system with the aid of an active industrial policy. If that policy comes up against the limits of the EU’s legal
framework, we need to do everything in our power to change that framework. Drastic times call for us to take firm action together. It is only in this way that we can establish a human rights-based social democracy in the EU, as well as an economic system that protects the environment, while also providing everyone with a decent standard of living.