Business and industry in the European Union


The EU aims to make industry and business more competitive and to promote growth and jobs through a business-friendly environment.

The EU’s economic and industrial policy is aimed at improving the business environment, creating a climate of entrepreneurship and favorable conditions for job creation, and making it easier for small businesses to access finance and markets. Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 99% of all businesses in the EU and two-thirds of all private sector employment. The policy of the EU promotes start-ups and supports innovative companies in their growth efforts. Improved trade agreements open up markets for European companies and measures can be taken to prevent unfair competition from outside the EU. The EU aims to:

  • Strengthen their industrial base and to promote the transition into a CO 2 low carbon economy;
  • Promoting innovation to create new foundations for growth;
  • Incentivizing small businesses and promoting a corporate culture;
  • Ensuring an EU-wide market for goods;
  • Maximize the value of European investments in space.

What the EU is doing

The EU aims to help businesses and industry to compete, grow and create new jobs. The aim is to help European companies become smarter, more innovative and more sustainable. Industrial policy contributes to competitiveness by creating the appropriate framework (for example through smart legislation and skills development). The European Commission has developed sector-specific action plans and legislation to support more than a dozen key industrial sectors. These include the chemical industry , the automotive industry , the food industry , and the health sector, the biotechnology industry and the aerospace industry . The Commission is also responsible for sectors of geostrategic scope with high levels of government intervention, such as defense , security and space .

The European Commission has launched the Investment Plan for Europe together with the European Investment Bank . As part of the offensive, the European Fund for Strategic Investments was launchedcreated to attract investment across Europe. By November 2018, investments worth 360 billion euros had been mobilized as part of the offensive. The fund provides guarantees for projects financed by the European Investment Bank. The focus is on infrastructure, innovation and smaller companies. Around 850,000 small and medium-sized enterprises are to be given improved access to finance. The Commission manages various EU programs to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. These include:

  • COSME – Program for Business Competitiveness and for Small and Medium Enterprises;
  • Horizon 2020 for research and innovation ;
  • Galileo for satellite navigation and Copernicus for earth observation, whose services benefit millions of people and businesses.

The EU also offers a range of business support services such as the Enterprise Europe Network and Erasmus for young entrepreneurs .