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At the end of 2013 the Italian Court of Audits declared the failure of the “Industria 2015” programme83. Six years from its launch only three projects (Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Mobility and Made in Italy) - out of the 303 presented - had received funds. Only 3% (€24 million) of resources allocated to the programme (around €800 million) had been spent. According to the Court’s Assessment, the success of the programme was encumbered by administrative burdens (23-25 months to get an admission decree), the instability of the programmes (continuous changes of schedule), and the scarcity of necessary resources (inconsistency between technical and administrative data). Further challenges to the implementation of the programme included the economic crisis and institutional instability. The programme has faced a reduction of available resources (around €663 million reduced to €200 million) under the present government and is currently ‘frozen’.

Di Maio, M. (2013), Industrial Policy in Italy: History, Results and Future Challenges.

http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2013_12_23/industria_2015_corte_conti_boccia_fondo_la_competitivit a e sviluppo 154247.shtml?uuid=ABvl2nl. http://www.ict4executive.it/pmi/approfondimenti/industria-2015-inumeri-di-un-progetto-mai-decollato_43672152463.htm.

98 PE 536.320Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy

In addition to “Industria 2015”, there other measures worth mentioning including the Italian Investment Fund (Fondo Italiano d’investimento)84 created in 2010 in order to support the capitalisation of SMEs, and the Central Guarantee Fund (CGF), introduced in 2000 with a loan guarantee programme to provide guarantees for SME loans granted by banks or Mutual Guarantee Institutions.

Example of a relevant policy initiative The Mechatronics Technological Cluster in the province of Bari is a successful example of implementation of a place-based approach in Italy. It develops out of a long-standing industrial tradition in precision mechanics. Having identified mechatronics as a promising path to increase the competitiveness of Apulian firms, in 2007 the independent agency ARTI promoted the establishment of the Mechatronics Technological Cluster, a body named MEDIS. MEDIS involves private enterprises and universities that collaborate for the development of pre-competitive enabling technologies that are sufficiently generic to find application in a variety of sectors (from automotive to biomedical, among others), and that do not directly lead to commercially exploitable results. For the period 2011-2015 MEDIS decided to focus its activities on specific intervention areas, selected after a consultation process with its members and ensuring coverage of all their activities. MEDIS received in 2007 a first grant of €3 million from the Italian government for university research. In 2011 and 2012 the central government approved a further €50 million contribution. The projects started in 2012 and involve both public and private members. They are expected to be concluded by the end of 2015.

Existing quantitative evidence about the number of spin-offs generated and the number of patents and utility model applications submitted (changes in the functionalities of already existing processes or products), suggest that significant progress has been made since 2005 (Florio et al. 2014). One of the lessons drawn from this initiative is that the development of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) - cross-cutting pre-competitive technologies, which in principle could be applied to a variety of sectors - favours the diversification of the industrial basis and maximises the utility of generated knowledge. The types of technology on which to focus the research and innovation efforts should be driven by the local industrial tradition, and selected through a participatory approach. This happened in the case of the Apulian mechatronics cluster, thanks to the initial important role of facilitator played by the regional agency ARTI.


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 Rota, M. (2013), Credit and growth: reconsidering Italian industrial policy during the Golden Age, European Review of Economic History.

 Di Maio, M. (2013), Industrial Policy in Italy: History, Results and Future Challenges.

 M. Florio, J. Pellegrin and E. Sirtori (2014), Research Intensive Clusters and Regional Innovation Systems: a Case Study of Mechatronics in Apulia, prepared for the Innovation for Growth (I4G) Group, Directorate-General Research and Innovation, European Commission  Zecchini, S., Ventura, M. (2009). The Impact of Public Guarantees on Credit to SMEs.

Small Business Economics, 32(2), 191-206.

 P. Bianchi and S. Labory (2011), Industrial Policy after the Crisis: the Case of the Emilia Romagna Region in Italy, in Policy Studies, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp. 429-445.

 European Commission (2013), SBA Factsheet Italy, DG Enterprise and Industry, http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performancereview/files/countries-sheets/2013/italy_en.pdf.

 M. L. Rizzi and F. Curcio (2009), I progetti di ricerca di Industria 2015, CESI RICERCA.

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Main policy challenges and guiding principles underlying the formulation of an industrial policy Polish industrial policy in recent times can be divided into three periods. The first period was under socialism leading up to Poland’s transition from a centrally planned to a marketbased economy in 1990. The second was under the new market economy until Poland became a full member of the EU in 2004. The last period is post-EU membership. Each period is marked by turbulence and shifting priorities due to the forthcoming changes that are overshadowing the investment climate and hence also the business environment within which industrial policy is conducted. Only very recently could Poland be described as having reached a stable political environment and market economy within which a modern industrial policy can be meaningfully formulated.

It is against the historical background of a centrally planned system that we should try to understand the reformation of industrial policy and in particular industrial relations in Poland. In some respects the 1990s and early 2000s took Poland very suddenly from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy (Poznanski, 1993). In this period, industrial policy was caught between different currents that moved Poland de facto more towards a mixed type of economic system with quite heavy state ownership in some sectors. Thus Poland came to resemble France in its industrial system and relations, Germany in terms of trying to decentralise decision-making to the regional level, and the UK in its austerity, central banking and financial systems (Gregory and Stuart, 2013). In terms of industrial policy, there was very heavy emphasis on attracting foreign direct investors (Jensen, 2001). It is the foreign investors and not the state that are starting to pick the winners in Poland. At the same time the problem for indigenous ownership and development is that there are very few capable local industrialists with the necessary capital and know-how to privatise the rest of the firms. This is one reason why the state prolonged the privatisation process for many of the industries that are considered either to be failing or declining or, at the other extreme, some of those considered to be Poland’s most strategic (e.g. in particular natural monopolies and those related to the financial sector) (Baltowski and Mickiewicz, 2000). This new economy and entirely market-based system was fully cemented or stabilised only in 2004 when Poland’s EU membership became a reality. The country was then considered prepared to compete fully on the free Internal Market. EU accession provided Poland with access to new avenues of funding for industrial policy such as the Structural Funds.

PE 536.320 101 EU Industrial Policy: Assessment of Recent Developments and Recommendations for Future Policies Some of the main challenges facing Poland today are the very low employment rate and the continuous significant structural bottlenecks in the labour market. Other challenges include insufficient market competition and heavy barriers to entrepreneurship (EC, 2014).

Many industries are also marked by the extensive and continuous involvement of the state (such as networked industries or natural monopolies) either via prolonged privatisation procedures or golden veto provisions (Egert and Goujard, 2014). Further challenges are strengthening competition policy and improving public procurement procedures. The old debates on industrial relations have resurfaced with the financial crisis (Czarzasty and Owczarek, 2012). The innovation system is also characterised by different weaknesses.

Poland is specialised in specific segments of industry which typically include a strong focus on past industrial strengths, cost structures and large investors, while relatively less attention is paid to SMEs, upgrading of past strengths and the emergence of new ones via innovation (Jensen and Winiarczyk, 2014, Wyznikiewics, 2012). There is now a debate about the more strategic need for an industrial policy to push such concerns. However, the EU seems to be the main driver due to the significant weight of structural funding in Poland.

Principal measures and arrangements Besides continuous state ownership or golden veto provisions in some sectors of the industry, the principal measures and arrangements in Poland regarding active industrial policy take two forms that are not directly related to specific government formulated plans for an industrial policy85. The first main measure that can be identified is Poland’s monetary and exchange rate policy, where the principal aim of NBP (nbp.pl) has been to keep the exchange rate competitive, maintain low inflation and also keep increases in labour costs to a moderate level. The other principal measure is related to Structural Funds spending in Poland. Typically, local, provincial or state government will be actively involved in coinvestment related to Structural Funds spending. Hence, the priorities established for the Structural Funds programmes for Poland in the previous and present budget period (as set out in the partnership agreements between the EC and each Member State, e.g. as in EC, 2014c for Poland) de facto are the main investment factor contributing to industrial policy in Poland (see also Sluzarczyk, 2009 for a presentation of horizontal policy under Poland’s first budget period 2007-2013; it is clear that this is entirely driven by the EU priorities in the area of industrial policy).

Example of a relevant policy initiative The Special Economic Zones (SEZ) policy was first introduced in Poland in 1994 (Jensen and Winiarczyk, 2014). The SEZ policy was typically targeted at high unemployment regions at the outset of transition. The ad hoc construction of SEZs came about to help alleviate the situation and attract new employment opportunities, new technologies and investment, with the aim of building a new export base. The Special Economic Zones Act of 1994 set out the following policy objectives: 1) to develop the designated areas of economic activity, 2) to facilitate technology transfer to the zones, 3) to boost exports from the designated areas, 4) to increase the competitiveness of the goods and services produced, 5) to develop the existing industrial make-up and upgrade the economic infrastructure, 6) to create new places of employment and 7) to facilitate the adoption of sustainable technologies and energy sources.

This strategy has yet to be finalised and published, but it is expected to be closely related to the forthcoming partnership agreement with the EC under the Cohesion Policy.

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Over time the policy has been subject to many revisions including a constant enlargement in territorial terms, changes in specific rules concerning tax incentives, and changes in the transitory regime when the policy is expected to be phased out. Just recently the original deadline of 2017 for when the incentives had to be phased out, which was established upon Poland’s joining the EU, was extended to 2026. For example, the initial idea of keeping the zones strictly concentrated to the very localised and originally designated areas was rejected in 1997, mainly for political reasons (KPMG 2009, Gwosdz et al., 2008).

Subsequently, local governors, including zone administrators and also, in some cases, indirectly the foreign investors themselves, have been able to bargain for the policy to be applicable to areas adjacent to the original zones, thus over time the zones have become mobile. In other words, a supply-side policy, in terms of locations offered to potential investors with special incentives, developed into a policy that became dominated more by a set of demand-side processes, and the geographical delineation of the SEZs became fuzzy.

What was originally seen as a redundant supply of industrial land for development changed into a de facto demand for incentives to develop land (and sometimes now inclusive of existing state-owned enterprises) that was otherwise under threat of becoming redundant.

Finally, with Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 many of the same regions became eligible for EU Structural Funds. The issue is whether SEZ policies and Structural Fund policies will lead to stand-alone development once the policy and public support scheme are phased out. Jensen and Winiarczyk (2014) document how the zones policy has been moderately successful in some of its development objectives such as new business formation and attraction of FDI.

PE 536.320 103 EU Industrial Policy: Assessment of Recent Developments and Recommendations for Future Policies


 Bakke, E., & Sitter, N. (2005). Patterns of Stability, Party Competition and Strategy in Central Europe since 1989. Party Politics, 11(2), 243-263.

 Baltowski, M., & Mickiewicz, T. (2000). Privatisation in Poland: Ten Years After. PostCommunist Economies, 12(4), 425-443.

 Czarzasty, Jan and Dominik Owczarek (2012): The Economic Crisis and Social Dialogue in Poland, Centre for Economic Development, Warsaw.

 EC (2013): State Aid Scoreboard 2013, DG Competition, The European Commission, Brussels, accessed on 16 October 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/competition/ state_aid/scoreboard/non_crisis_en.html.

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