Construction and Infrastructure Sector

The construction sector is among the largest economic sectors in Europe. It employs 18 million people directly and creates close to 9% of the EU GDP. Being the major client of CECE’s member companies, construction’s performance impacts directly and indirectly on the construction equipment sector.

This is true for investments in the three large components of the construction market: renovation of existing buildings, new building construction and civil engineering.

Whereas Eurostat shows a clear market tendency with renovation of existing buildings now representing the majority of the sector’s turnover, performances and market growth vary depending on the countries’ ability and willingness to invest in long-term projects.

An interesting element of this is the role of civil engineering, notably infrastructure, which is mainly driven by public demand in the forms of long-term investments. In this field, European resources and coordination is key in order to develop multi-national infrastructure programmes such as those under the Connecting Europe Facility.

CECE cooperates with the European Parliament

Since its kick-off at the beginning of the 2014 legislature of the European Parliament, CECE has been a partner of the Intergroup on Long-term investment and re-industrialisation.

This gathering of like-minded MEPs from all the different political groups is a strategic meeting-place between long-term investment institutions (such as the national promotional banks) and industrial representatives willing to raise the need for long-term investment vision to make Europe’s infrastructure fit for the future.

Construction 2020 Initiative

In order to respond to the key challenges affecting the Construction Sector, a European strategy has been defined by the European Commission for the next decade. It is intended to complement the strategies developed by the enterprises of the construction sector themselves to improve their competitiveness and to respond to societal challenges.

As a relevant stakeholders directly linked to the Construction Sector, CECE has been invited to take part in the High level Forum which discuss the concrete implementation of the various initiatives included in the strategy.

This strategy focuses on five key objectives: (a) stimulating favourable investment conditions; (b) improving the human-capital basis of the construction sector; (c) improving resource efficiency, environmental performance and business opportunities; (d) strengthening the Internal Market for construction; (e) fostering the global competitive position of EU construction enterprises.

Each objective covers different key challenges; for example, favourable investment conditions are necessary for stimulating growth, research & innovation and the low-carbon economy. Similarly, a sound human-capital basis is essential to improve the performance of the value chain and to adopt innovative solutions, in particular for a low carbon economy. On the one hand, the strategy suggests recommendations that could address the short to medium-term economic and employment challenges faced by the construction sector. On the other hand, it presents a number of recommendations with a long-term perspective to ensure durable effects on the competitiveness of the sector.

CECE Position on the Initiative

CECE has welcomed the European Commission initiative and has been pleased to participate in the High Level Forum which discuss the concrete implementation of the various initiatives proposed in the Strategy.