Brussels Commissioner Margaritis Schinas has distanced himself from Pierre Régibeau, the European Commission’s former chief economist.
Régibeau told Belgium’s De Tijd that the disappearance of European industry did not worry him. If it happens then “so be it”, he told the newspaper.
That did not go down well with Commission Vice-President Schinas. Taking on Twitter/X, he said Régibeau’s views “may make for good August headlines, but under no circumstances represent the policy of the European Commission”.
“It took a pandemic and now a war to realise that Europe needs a solid industrial capacity and strategic autonomy,” he added.
Such views may make for good August headlines, but under no circumstances represent @EU_Commission policy.
It took a pandemic and now a war to realise that Europe needs a solid industrial capacity and strategic autonomy. https://t.co/qn2kQu0yCy
— Margaritis Schinas (@MargSchinas) August 7, 2023
Several economists have warned that the industrial sector in Europe is vanishing. Examples cited include a large project planned in Belgium by chemicals giant Ineos that is on the verge of being torpedoed due to environmental laws. Germany is also suffering because of a lacklustre economy.
Régibeau said fears of de-industrialisation and “collective impoverishment” were “pure lobbying” and “alarmism”, and the result of industry operators who only consider their “own benefit”.
Questioned about the possible impact on unemployment such de-growth may have in the European Union, he said: “Economies are flexible, they evolve. Shocks are absorbed.”
As long as the bloc maintains “good institutions and good education” there was little to worry about, he added.
Dire warnings of de-industrialisation in Europe are “pure lobbying”, according to Pierre Régibeau, who on July 31 stepped down as the European Commission’s chief economist. https://t.co/y66GrPiYBb
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 4, 2023