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Europa necesita un consenso social para un cambio industrial forte, dinámico e non sustentable

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A industria sempre foi formada por un cambio continuo. Pero algúns cambios son verdadeiros trastornos, como a revolución industrial no 19th século e o que nos enfrontamos agora: Industria 4.0, a revolución dixital da 21st century. “It may be almost impossible to predict the future, but we need to be prepared for it”: that was the message from the panellists at the event.

En particular, Europa necesita un marco de asociación público-privado amplo:

  • impulsar o investimento a longo prazo no cambio industrial dixital;
  • garantir competencias 4.0 renovadas continuamente, aprendizaxe permanente, empregos de calidade e unha protección sostida dos estándares laborais na nova era dixital;
  • to promote a fair societal distribution of the “digital dividend”;
  • A cooperación en todos os niveis e ao longo da cadea de valor é fundamental.

O 16 de novembro, a Comisión Consultiva para o Cambio Industrial (CCMI) do Comité Económico e Social Europeo (CESE) celebrou o seu 15th anniversary with a conference entitled ‘From Industrial Change to Society 4.0’.

Opening the event, CCMI President Lucie Studničná said: “Europe must reach a viable social consensus if the 4.0 process is to be strong, dynamic and sustainable. Industrial change and societal change are forged together and social and civil dialogues are paramount.” She saw four important challenges ahead:

  • Crear un único marco de política de Industry 4.0 para todos os membros da UE, coa ciberseguridade no centro do proxecto;
  • reforzar a cooperación entre os sectores industrial e de servizos e as universidades;
  • garantir que a forza de traballo estea habilitada para dominar as habilidades tecnolóxicas para a industria 4.0. e;
  • framing 4.0 industrial transformation with less “flexicurity” and more “security-flex”.

Conde Etienne Davignon, convidado especial no 15th CCMI anniversary, voiced his regret that industry was given too little importance: “Today industry has become like an abandoned child. With the Common Market, the EU thought everything would run itself, but the market is not strong enough. The market also needs a state that arranges things.”

Europe’s young people play a key role in shaping its industrial future. With this in mind, Count Davignon proposed teaching entrepreneurship from childhood on: “Businesses and schools must be brought together, and apprenticeship must have a higher standing in society. It needs to become as fashionable to be an apprentice as to be a student, because we need both.”

EESC member Joost van Iersel referred to the impact the 4.0 transformation was already having on business models. New kinds of SMEs would emerge in all production or service sectors. The relationship between society and the production sector would also change, creating prosumers as new market participants. An emphasis on education, training and skills was therefore paramount – but also on collaboration between the main stakeholders, such as the private and public sectors, businesses and universities: “We need to do it together, or we fall apart as a society,” he warned.

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Enrico Gibellieri and Jacques Glorieux, two founding members of the CCMI, pointed out the importance of bringing in the different positions of various sectors of industry and society and so adding to the wealth of ideas: “This knowledge that civil society has is essential and should be the basis for Europe’s decision-making.”

Adrian Harris, director0-general of Orgalime, which represents a sector that directly employs almost 11 million people across Europe and which had a turnover of EUR 2 000 billion in 2016, highlighted the strength of Europe’s industry in manufacturing-based services: “Our industry is well placed to build on its strengths through increasing digitalising of production, products, processes and services. The Single Market, the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union are important agendas for Europe’s industry; however, what we are still missing is an EU industrial policy.”

“Compared with the US and China, Europe is lagging behind in Industry 4.0.,” said Mark Nicklas from DG Grow. This was particularly true for SMEs, which are at the heart of Europe’s industry. Europe needs to invest in production equipment, but also in new skills and new forms of management and work. While 62% of US enterprises are prepared for the current transformation, only 38% of those in the EU are ready for the challenges. However, Europe is leading in clean production, which is an asset in terms of commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Wolfgang Greif pensou que debemos discutir unha nova distribución de traballo, novas condicións de emprego e un enfoque intelixente para reducir o horario laboral. Tamén era importante que todos, tanto dentro como fóra de traballo, en situación de emprego estable ou precario, tivesen as mesmas oportunidades de formación e educación.

The CCMI is the direct successor of the European Coal and Steel Community’s Consultative Committee. Made up of 51 EESC members and 51 external delegates, it delivers in-depth policy opinions and reports on many industrial sectors, based on fact-finding field trips, sectoral consultations, hearings and conferences with civil society stakeholders.

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