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Informal meeting of the Ministers, responsible for the competitiveness in the Industrial field
January 31, 2018

The informal meeting of the Ministers, responsible for the competitiveness in the Industrial field, chaired by Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov will start with a plenary session at 9.30 am on February 1, 2018 at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The meeting shall be attended by the ministers of Norway and Switzerland, in addition to the ministers from the EU Member States. The European Commission will be represented by Ms. Elżbieta Bieńkowskа, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Markus Beyrer, Director General of BUSINESSEUROPE, who will make a presentation on the business perspective at European level for the future industrial strategy, Marco Mensink, Director General of the European Chemical Industry Council, who will also make a presentation on the conclusions of the conference 'Innovation and Competitiveness: the Core Industries - a Key Driver of Growth' and on the challenges and opportunities for the core industries in Europe, as well as Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Heinz Lehmann, Member of the European Committee of the Regions.

In the plenary session, the ministers will discuss the main factors that shape the future of European industry, as well as the priorities that will be set in preparing the future, long-term EU industrial strategy. The main task of the meeting shall be to launch the preparation of a future comprehensive and long-term EU industrial strategy with prospects for up to 2030 and beyond.

After the plenary session, two parallel working sessions will focus on the 'Value Chains ​​and Development of Competitive Advantages for the European Economy' and 'The New Trends in Industrial Development - Digitization of the Industry and the Human Dimension in the Process of Economic Development'.

The first workshop session on the 'Value chains and the development of competitive advantages for the European economy' shall discuss how to develop the future competitive advantages of European industry in an increasingly competitive global environment, building upon Europe's competitive strengths, including the infrastructure and technological knowledge, in comparison to other major trading partners and competitors.

The second parallel workshop session, dealing with the 'New Trends in Industrial Development - Digitization of the Industry and the Human Dimension in the Process of Economic Development' will discuss the digital transformation of industry and will outline the European priorities in the process of transition to the digital industry and the objectives and measures that could be set in the future industrial strategy for the development of digital skills, the promotion of digital entrepreneurship and the digitization of production.

The agenda of the informal meeting has also scheduled a ministerial work-lunch, during which the challenges and opportunities facing energy-intensive industries shall be discussed, as well as the digitization and climate change.  Aurubis CEO, Mr. Jürgen Schachler, will make a presentation on the experience of the raw materials sector in the transition to a sustainable and circular economy. The objective is to give special attention to the energy-intensive sectors in the overall discussion on the future, comprehensive and long-term industrial policy, as they are an important part of the industrial base of the European Union and the development of many other sectors and businesses depends on them.

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