April 24, 2020 / 4:03 PM / a month ago

EU industry chief wants pan-European recovery plan for industry, tourism, others

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton gestures as he communicates on the EU's 5G plan in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU industry chief Thierry Breton on Friday pushed for a pan-European recovery plan for as many as 14 coronavirus-hit sectors ranging from heavy industry to tourism, in a move that would do away with the current patchwork of national measures.

A European strategy makes more sense as each sector has its own ecosystem made up of research, engineering, production, assembly and service activities that can be spread across different European countries, Breton said.

He said a pan-European approach would help both big and small companies and also ensure a level playing field in the bloc.

“In my view, it is important to consider the recovery from that perspective, because it allows us to overcome national divisions and to adopt a truly European approach,” he told a European Parliament hearing on Friday.

“To put it simply: we are all in the same boat. And if a company has difficulties in one country, the whole associated European value chain is impacted. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to find the means to support this recovery,” he said.

He estimated to date 14 industrial ecosystems, from tourism, local businesses, distribution to heavy industry representing more than 50% of added value in the bloc and the hardest hit, would benefit from a pan-European recovery plan.

The European Commission is now assessing the needs of each sector and will then present the results to EU countries for further action.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Editing by William Maclean

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