CECE takes a political initiative for a strong industry in Europe

Europe is a great place to live. Europe is the future of 512 million inhabitants. Europe has a strong economic power, peace and democracy. In addition, as the European Union website reads: “The European Union is the largest trade block in the world. It is the world's biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and the biggest import market for over 100 countries. Free trade among its members was one of the EU's founding principles. This is possible thanks to the single market. Beyond its borders, the EU is also committed to liberalising world trade.”

The European construction equipment industry is one of the key industries for this competitiveness and for future economic growth. With an overall employment of 300,000 and about 1,200 companies, it contributes to all fundamental building and construction projects that provide Europeans with enjoyable places to live, work and thrive. To keep this competitiveness, the sector needs a solid institutional setup from the EU side to champion and defend principles like fair competition, reciprocity and openness on the global stage.

On 7th of February, CECE organised a public event to launch its Manifesto and start raising awareness of construction equipment sector’s needs in the forthcoming European elections. The public launch event took place at the Press Club Europe in Brussels with the attendance of close to 70 representatives from the EU institutions, CECE members, European industry associations and the press. Keynote speakers at the event included high-level representatives of the three European institutions – the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council Presidendy, as well as representatives from the trade union movement and the Industry4Europe coalition.

Opening the event, CECE President Enrico Prandini set the scene for the debate: ”Pursuing our fundamental goals of raising awareness on our industry and value chain, CECE launches a call to action for the European Elections of May 2019 to ensure that industry and manufacturing are at the heart of EU policy-making during the 2019-2024 legislature”. This call to action focuses on the EU Single Market, environmental sustainability, international trade and digital transformation.

Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of Unit for Clean Technologies and Products, DG GROW supports CECE’s vision of the construction value chain working together with the European Commission towards the common goal of developing the full construction sector. Ms Raffaelli also expressed interest towards the idea of appointing a Commission Vice-President for Industry within the next mandate, one of CECE’s requests.

Jens Gieseke, MEP, European People’s Party agreed that industry should raise the ambition for a new EU industrial agenda, the process in which CECE wants to be an active player. Reinhard Bütikofer, MEP, European Green Party argued that in order to stay competitive on the global stage, the European industry must become sustainable. Both MEPs agreed that it’s not the time for national industrial policies and strategies, since any European country alone cannot stand up to Chinese or American competition.

Constantin Apostol, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU presented the main priorities for the Romanian Presidency of the European Council. Mainstreaming industrial competitiveness, manifested in CECE's call to action, was confirmed by the commitment from Mr Apostol to work towards a competitive, open and fair European market.

CECE strongly advocates that industry and manufacturing should become a top priority in the next EU legislative term. The need for a strategic approach towards an ambitious industrial policy was confirmed by Peter Scherrer, Deputy Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation. Philippe Citroën, Director General, Association of the European Rail Industry and coordinator of the Industry4Europe coalition firmly believes that the challenges for the EU industry over the next five years will be crucial and can only be tackled with a joint effort between industry and EU institutions.

CECE Secretary General Riccardo Viaggi stated that the launch of CECE’s Manifesto is only the beginning of a long and important work ahead of CECE in the run up to the European elections. Riccardo concluded the event by making the audience aware of the next steps in terms of CECE’s preparation for the elections in May 2019, by inviting the participants to bauma, the biggest trade fair for construction equipment in the world, where CECE will continue this political dialogue.

Read CECE Elections Manifesto and watch the ‘Road to 2024’ video!

panelFrom left: Fulvia Raffaelli, Jens Gieseke, Constantin Apostol, Reinhard Bütikofer, Peter Scherrer, Philippe Citroën

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