Cefic, the EU chemical industry representation, welcomes an endorsement by Commissioner Bienkowska of a vision for the future of manufacturing industry in Europe. This follows a lunch debate arranged by the Maltese Presidency that took place during the Competitiveness Council.
As part of the debate, Dr. Hariolf Kottmann, (President, Cefic / CEO, Clariant) told Member State representatives that the European Union is on the cusp of losing its hold as a major world industrial power, with other global regions growing faster, offering industries cheaper raw materials and feedstock and aggressively promoting their own chemical manufacturing. Europe’s industries urgently need a clear signal from EU lawmakers, with favourable conditions to repatriate investment. This speech builds on a joint industry declaration last week that now counts over 100 participating industry sectors.
As a result, the Council has now decided to work on Council Conclusions in its May meeting to encourage the European Commission to draft a new industrial policy.
Said Dr. Kottmann, “In times of political and economic uncertainty we need ambitious EU institutions and leaders who are willing to take bold decisions to restore and enhance Europe’s competitiveness. The European chemical industry stands ready to support EU decision makers in this endeavour because we share a common goal – to secure a stable political framework and maintain a sustainable, competitive chemical industry in Europe.”
Commissioner Bienkowska reacted positively, stating that “In a week’s time we hold EU industry Day here in Brussels. The goal of this big conference is to evaluate what has been achieved by mainstreaming industrial competitiveness into EU policy. The time has come to really have a European vision for industry. Smart and innovative industry is extremely important for Europe and we have to be in the avant-garde of developments. We need to keep industry and production here in Europe. We have to keep them as well as services. I cannot say there will be a new proposal but I personally support this idea for an overall vision for European industry.”
Maltese Minister Chris Cardona added that “The presidency acknowledges the desire by member states to have a comprehensive holistic industrial policy, so much so that we have today placed the competitiveness of European industry as lunch debate during the first competitiveness council and we are monitoring the developments and will act accordingly. Industrial competitiveness is one of the main objectives of our presidency. We all know the transaction costs to operate in the European Union is high. We need to focus on areas that the presidency has already mentioned: the chemical industry, digitization of industry, logistics, access to finance, startups and scale-ups and the European defense action plan.”
Cefic would like to thank Council President Minister Chris Cardona for organising this lunch debate on industrial policy and also for inviting Cefic to participate along with other industry representatives.