The European Union on Monday announced new policies aimed at making European industry more efficient and flexible, rejecting pleas from France that the EU do more to protect the bloc's industry against competition from Asia and the Americas.
The EU plan sets out seven new policy initiatives for the 25-nation bloc aimed at countering cheaper, more flexible industries in such new economic dynamos as China, India, and Brazil.
Part of the plans, including drafting new intellectual property rights, fighting piracy of goods, and deregulation of such sectors as chemicals registration, are already in the works.
Others depend on new EU funding on space research and telecommunications technologies, the AP reports.
Verheugen said the new plans did not involve throwing millions of euros (dollars) in new aid at industry. Instead, they would represent a new commitment to cut red-tape, boost research and education, improve market access and restructure industry to be more flexible.
Industry and business group UNICE, which represents 20 million small, medium and large companies in Europe said the EU plans go "a step further toward the goal of strengthening Europe's competitiveness," and urged EU nations to adopt them "without delay." AM