Europe can be a leader of the 'new industrial revolution'


Europe can become the leader of the “new industrial revolution”, a senior European Commission official will tell a conference in Dublin today.

Didier Herbert, the acting director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, will note that Europe is a world leader in many strategic sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, engineering, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and that industry still accounts for four out of five of Europe’s exports.

Today’s event assesses the opportunities and challenges of globalisation for Ireland and Europe. It is being held by Economic and Social Research Institute.

Another Commission official will point to Europe’s continued success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). In a paper to be delivered to the conference, Konstantin Pashev says that despite its economic woes the EU 27 economies attracted $421 billion (€324 billion) in FDI in 2011 – more than a quarter of the global total. He will say that FDI generates new jobs and increases productivity, allowing the EU to create more goods, more efficiently.

Adrian Devitt, of Forfás will tell the event that despite the highly globalised nature of the Irish economy, improvements in cost competitiveness recently and continued growth in net exports, Ireland’s share of world trade peaked more than a decade ago and has been in decline since.

Iulia Siedschlag, of the ESRI, will focus on innovation in indigenous enterprises, which she believes is crucial to Ireland’s efforts to regain competitiveness and restore sustainable economic growth.

“In the case of Irish indigenous enterprises, the productivity benefits of innovation are not primarily linked to new and improved products, but rather to process and organisational innovation,” she will note.

Bettina Peters, of the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research and the Centre for Competition and Innovation, will say that in many countries innovation policy has been designed for technology-based innovation in manufacturing and has largely neglected innovation in services. She advocates that innovation policy should take into account the specific characteristics of innovation in services.