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PPMI kicks off a new study on SMEs and Open Strategic Autonomy

17 Jan 2024

PPMI kicks off a new study on SMEs and Open Strategic Autonomy

Open strategic autonomy’ (OSA) has become a focal point within the EU’s Single Market policy over the past decade. OSA refers to the EU’s capacity to act autonomously in strategically important policy areas, protecting the EU from unfair trading practices, while also developing mutually beneficial bilateral and multilateral relations. The scope of OSA has significantly expanded since the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the need to foster domestic capacity in critical sectors such as healthcare, technology and electronics, as well as the ability to acquire essential raw materials.

The main objective of the project is to understand the potential impacts that OSA is likely to have on the EU’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It will look into the benefits of OSA for local supply chains (which are mostly made up of SMEs) in two steps. First, it will explore current OSA-related policies at both the EU and national levels, highlighting the current best practices, risks and shortcomings. And secondly, it will provide recommendations on designing policies aimed at ensuring that SMEs can obtain the maximum advantage from the OSA strategy.

The project is divided into four main tasks:

  • Task 1 on the development of the conceptual framework, where OSA is formally defined and a theory of change of its impact on SMEs is developed on the basis of a literature review;
  • Task 2, which involves first a quantitative analysis on the role and positioning of SMEs in strategic ecosystems, and a qualitative analysis of the impacts of OSA on SMEs, based on desk research and interviews with key stakeholders and sectoral experts;
  • Task 3 concerns the structuring and compilation of a policy inventory of actions that have been undertaken to develop OSA; and
  • Task 4 will tie the three previous tasks to provide policy recommendations for ensuring that SMEs can benefit as much as possible from the EU’s OSA strategy.

The project is led by CSIL, in collaboration with PPMI, IDEA Consult and the London School of Economics’ Trade Policy Hub.