In the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament, Minister of Economy Niculae Bădălău presented the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the field of competitiveness and industry.
Niculae Bădălău stated that the Romanian Presidency efforts focus on advancing negotiations and obtaining the agreement on legislative dossiers in the current institutional cycle, especially in the first three months, given the coming European Parliament elections. According to the Romanian minister, the priorities of the Romanian Presidency in the field of competitiveness and industry are the industrial strategy of the European Union, digitisation and artificial intelligence – current topics on the European agenda and issues of great importance in the current economic and social context.
“The adjustment of industrial eco-systems to digitisation is a challenge that can be turned into an opportunity to increase Europe’s industrial competitiveness for the next decade. Digital transformation and artificial intelligence are the main factors that will help shape the industrial policy of the 2030s, for which the development of appropriate skills will be necessary“, said the Minister of Economy during the debates.
Niculae Bădălău announced that, based on the Coordinated Plan for Artificial Intelligence, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has submitted a set of conclusions to be adopted at the Competitiveness Council meeting on 18 February 2019. In that regard, the Romanian minister also reiterated the message contained in the EC Communication on the Action Plan, stating that the European Union should be among the global leaders on Artificial Intelligence through its plan for Artificial Intelligence “made in Europe”. Niculae Bădălău highlighted the most advanced areas in the application of Artificial Intelligence, such as medicine and autonomous mobility, which can become models for other sectors.
The Romanian Minister of Economy has pointed out that the Coordinated Plan for Artificial Intelligence requires EU Member States to adopt national strategies and budgets in that respect by mid-2019. “We are convinced that Artificial Intelligence issues will be discussed in many formats of the Council because of the impact that AI will have on the economy in the years to come”, added Niculae Bădălău.
Minister Bădălău also said that, during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, industry, value chains and clusters will be topics of particular interest.
“We all agree that now, more than ever, the EU needs future-oriented industrial policies capable of tackling current challenges. The European industry, to which SMEs are essential, needs a long-term policy until at least 2030. To European competitiveness, maintaining a strong industrial base in the EU to create new jobs and a significant share of value-added exports is essential. This vision is on the European agenda and is important for Romania, where the share of industry in GDP is 25%. In our view, it is also essential to constantly protect the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries. Today’s reality demonstrates that we cannot talk about competitiveness in the absence of digitisation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Our world and our children’s world are increasingly digital, and the close relation between finding a job and having digital skills is more than obvious”, said Niculae Bădălău. He added that investments in infrastructure, digital competences and innovation are mandatory for this.
In this respect, Minister Bădălău announced that the Romanian Presidency of Council of the EU will submit a set of conclusions on industry to be presented at the EU Council on 27 May 2019. These conclusions will encompass the results of debates at the “European Industry Days 2019” Conference, in other forums and industry opinions.
Minister Bădălău also pointed to the European Defence Fund dossier, appreciating the assurances received from the European Parliament on its readiness to conclude the negotiations by mid-February.
The Minister of Economy answered the questions raised by MEPs Christian EHLER, Dan NICA, Zdzislaw KRASNODĘBSKI, Lieve WIERINCK, Marian-Jean MARINESCU, mainly referring to artificial intelligence and the European Defence Fund.
ITRE President Jerzy BUZEK expressed his appreciation of the Romanian Presidency objectives on industry and artificial intelligence. He also encouraged upcoming debates on these issues, as well as a political agreement on the European Defence Fund dossier.