The European economy is currently facing major upheavals such as digitisation, the climate crisis and escalating geopolitical tensions. The EU approach of open strategic autonomy is at odds with the new interventionist and protectionist approaches. Against this backdrop, the European Commission is focusing on a more active approach to industrial policy. The Green Deal Industrial Plan and related Commission’s proposals such as the Net-Zero Industry Act aim to achieve technological retooling and innovation, value creation and employment for a climate-neutral and sustainable Europe.

From the perspective of employees, this active approach is to be welcomed. However, the Commission's proposals can only be successful if they focus on the social dimension of industrial restructuring and strengthen just transition approaches as a cross-cutting issue. The creation of high-quality jobs and the training of skilled workers, the development of a European circular economy, the linking of social and environmental conditions to the award of public contracts or subsidies and the promotion of cooperation and co-determination must be addressed. There is also a need for ongoing strategic development of the welfare state and public infrastructure. Financing has to be made available in this respect. Viable, people-centred transition pathways need to be developed together with the European social partners

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Christian Berger

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Michael Soder

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Marion Pistelka

Florian Wukovitsch (Brussels office)

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