The technological and innovative developments promised by the next industrial revolution come with their corollaries of optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for our societies. Public policy is tackling digital transition issues; meanwhile, it is already acting on and anticipating the challenges and opportunities, and the risks and uncertainties, of the emerging Industry 4.0 paradigm. The qualitative analysis mainly relies upon official European Commission communications and European Union (EU) reports as well as thematic national and regional strategies. It brings together an updated and structured picture of some of the rationales and directions of I4.0-enabling policies in the EU. The initial efforts to develop key enabling technologies and advanced manufacturing as engines of the EU’s growth trajectory led to the identification of priority action lines for the EU’s industrial policy and investments into new technologies. The priority areas underlined in the previous communications also constituted important building blocks of the EU Regional and Cohesion Policy for the period 2014–2020.