Baden-Württemberg has a specific institutional constellation in this respect, which to be future proof requires more coordination and a better connection to Brussels stakeholders and policy developments on EU level. One of the main regional actors in the field of internationalisation and support to domestic and foreign companies, research institutions and universities is Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i). The Commissioner for Europe could further intensify and deepen cooperation with bw-i to get closer to those SMEs from the region that want to internationalise and do more exports. A deep and sustainable cooperation with bw-i and LVI could also help to react faster to market changes. To promote such collaboration the Commissioner for Europe could take part in the Working Groups of bw-i or specific committees, such as the committee of medium-sized businesses of the Industry Association of Baden-Württemberg.

Since the start of the Commissioner in 1990, the direct contacts with industries as well as their stakeholders were key components of the daily work. Offering various support services to SME for strengthening their European Innovation Networks through partnerships and joint projects were and still are essential. At the same time, the position of the Commissioner for Europe is called to be neutral, not for profit. Support services to SME have to be outside of any economic action.

The new set-up of the Commissioner for Europe as a not for profit institute, delivering analysis and facts to policy as well as actual and targeted instruments and information to industry is going in this direction. One to one support and services are offered through a separate company, closely cooperating with the Commissioner for Europe and the relevant policy makers and sharing the vision to enhance competitiveness of industry in Baden-Wuerttemberg through innovation and internationalisation. This model is to be further developed. The input of the stakeholders are well taken into consideration and will feed into the local action plan.

Author: Steinbeis Europa Zentrum