Competitiveness and Trade
Strengthening EU Industrial Policy: time to gear up!
The EU Commission’s Industrial Policy Communication was launched today and is warmly welcomed by CEPI – the Confederation of European Paper Industries. The expectations from the paper industry are high, in a time of economic crisis and political and financial uncertainty, in which a clear direction is needed.
We call upon Vice President Tajani to implement a strong industrial policy, integrating other policies in a coherent way, and shaping them to reverse the current trend of de-industrialisation, shrinking investments and industrial employment contraction.
The paper industry has a clear strategy to develop its own competitive advantages and strengths. By using natural and renewable raw materials, creating record recycling rates, using its knowledge of the value chain, utilising new business models such as industrial symbiosis and by setting a vision for resource efficiency in the CEPI 2050 Roadmap, the paper industry is already part of the new industrial revolution described in the EU Communication. It also ticks off all the boxes for the bio-economy, with the potential to deliver bio-based products, rightly highlighted as an important focus area in the communication.
The paper industry is supplying the European market, and at the same time has one fourth of the global market share. Paper is “made in Europe” as 91% of its raw materials are sourced in Europe and its suppliers are large European companies. But a number of policies and practices are putting the raw material supply at risk and a robust and consistent policy approach is needed in this area.
Investment in new technologies and innovation are of paramount importance. “We, the paper industries, believe that one size does not fit all. We are starting our own work on breakthrough technologies that will allow our factories to release resources that can be invested in new added value products” said Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General. “The communication on EU Industrial Policy must be more than an update. It has to set the grounds for sector specific policies”. The support for the Bio-based industries Public Private Partnership is a clear sign of direction, which is appreciated by CEPI.
No long-term growth and sustainability goals can be achieved without industry. Industry is a real partner to contribute to growth and jobs in Europe, provided it gets the right legislative pro-investment environment. Only coherent, stable, competitiveness proofed policies and legislation, taking into account business values, investment cycles and the strategic importance of value chains can reset virtuous conditions to manufacture in Europe.
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Note to the Editor
European Commission Industrial Policy press release: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/1085&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 520 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 1000 paper mills. Together they represent 25% of world production.
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Low sulphur fuel directive: EU industry competitiveness again disregarded
The Council announced that a compromise agreement on sulphur content of marine fuels has been reached with the European Parliament. The European paper industry believes this agreement is a major blow to its competitiveness at a time where the EU is desperately looking for growth and jobs. Sulphur content limits will be 0.1% in the North of Europe from 2015 – 1.0% today – compared to 3.5% in other European sea areas until 2020, and the rest of the world until 2025. Sulphur emissions have to be reduced indeed but in a cost-efficient and fair way. This requires more time and better coordination.
CEPI deeply regrets that the agreement does not take full account of the concerns of the business community in times of an economic recession in Europe. CEPI has continuously drawn the attention of the European Parliament and the Member States towards the huge impact this agreement will have on the companies operating in the North of Europe – an additional cost of around 4 billion euros per year according to the most recent studies. For the paper industry an estimated increase in shipping costs of 20-45% further to a 50-80% price increase in marine fuels is expected, because of the foreseen low sulphur fuel scarcity and lack of reliable abatement methods. Further market and competition distortion within the EU and with foreign competitors outside the EU is to be expected.
Accompanying measures at EU and national levels through existing or new financial support schemes will be required, if the impact of the Sulphur Directive on companies is to be mitigated. “Companies will have to revert to their member state support in order to be able to comply to the prescribed limits within such a short period of time. But state aid will not compensate for increased costs and the resulting loss of competitiveness", said Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General. "The EU once again did not consider the competitiveness of its industry", she added.
The European paper industry asks the European Parliament and the Council to call for more flexibility in the rules of the IMO - the International Maritime Organisation.
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