Manufacturing: the Beating Heart of Europe

Over 35 million jobs. Everywhere.  In your country, region, city, town and village.

One market for all?

The European Union is built on the idea of a single European market, allowing free movement of goods, services, persons and capital – directly benefitting every EU citizen, family and company.  A properly functioning single market would help European companies become more competitive in today’s fast changing, globalised market.

But the EU’s single market is far from complete. Rules vary between member states, with extra requirements often added to EU rules.

How can European policy makers complete the single market across the EU and make it truly one market for all?

“In sectors such as engineering, aerospace, chemicals, pharmaceutical and automotive we are world leaders. We obviously have to maintain this position and even reindustrialise Europe.”
Elżbieta Bieńkowska , Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

A supportive labour market?

European Manufacturing  operates in an ever-developing global environment, creating not only major opportunities but also significant competitive pressures. Manufacturing companies face higher international competition than most other sectors in Europe. Competitors outside the EU have lower labour costs and less burdensome regulation.

If we want to compete successfully on the global market and secure and build European employment, industry needs an agile workforce and flexible labour markets.

How can European policy makers create the EU-level policies and regulations for a supportive labour market?

“In the last ten years, technological development has not only fundamentally changed all aspects of our personal lives, but equally production, customer expectations, and the definition of ‘workplace’. The concept of employment needs to reflect these new realities.”
Uwe Combüchen, Director General CEEMET, the European manufacturing employers' organisation

Win-win-win environmental laws?

We all accept Europe needs to continue its transition towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable future.

Our industry plays a leading role in this (r)evolution, with the innovative products, systems and technologies we’ve produced through significant, long-term investments.

Europe’s environmental laws have to be fairly balanced and stable, producing a win-win-win for not only the environment, but also European manufacturing’s international competitiveness and so European workers and employment.

How can European policy makers ensure win-win-win environmental laws?

"Industrial policy involves...understanding that competitiveness has to exist with sustainability..."
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP

A forward looking, resilient energy policy?

The EU’s Energy Union policy aims to combine environmental, energy and climate goals with international competitiveness, jobs and growth and is a European Commission priority.

It is also the vehicle for implementing  a new dimension – that of the COP21 agreement.

But while Europe moves towards the new 2030 framework and the COP21 agreements, European manufacturers are often weighed down by higher energy costs than their rivals, damaging competitiveness and so European workers and jobs.

How can European policy makers develop a forward looking, resilient energy policy?

"An energy market that is integrated, interconnected, resilient and secure. It is a ‘triple win’ strategy, because it will benefit citizens, businesses, and the environment."
Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President

Smarter R&D?

European manufacturing relies on appropriate, targeted investment in research and development (R&D) to stay competitive in today’s global market.

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme is a positive step, bringing R&D and innovation together under one common initiative for the first time.But, important opportunities still exist to properly focus research on industry’s real needs, simplify the system and better link regional, national and EU-level actions.

How can European policy makers promote smarter R&D?

"Europe has to maximise the benefit of its R&D spend, by matching the research topics to correlate with industry’s real needs"
Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink, President of FME

Modernised Infrastructure?

Modern infrastructure drives industrial competitiveness, economic growth and so job creation and prosperity. Like other industries, European manufacturing needs such infrastructure to help it remain competitive in today’s fast- changing, global market.

The EU has recently outlined wide-ranging plans to modernise Europe’s infrastructure by 2020, including energy, transport, e-health and digital interconnectivity. But in realising these plans we face real obstacles like limited financing, public opposition and long, complex permit procedures.

How can European policy makers deliver modernised infrastructure?

“Investment in high-tech infrastructures will be essential if we are to bring the benefits of the digital, energy and circular economy transitions to Europe’s citizens.”
Malte Lohan, Director General Orgalime, the European engineering industries association

Finance that works?

The European Commission’s new industrial policy concentrates on public sector funding and reinforcing access to international capital markets.

Welcomed as this is, European manufacturing companies’ day-to-day business mainly rely on bank credit, something which has become progressively more difficult to access and expensive. In parallel, larger organisations, including governments and institutions, are paying invoices late. This particularly affects suppliers, many of which are SMEs.

How can European policy makers help provide finance that works?

“We plan to use nearly half of next year's budget to stimulate growth, employment and competitiveness. That is our main duty for the next coming years”.
Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Bridging the growing skills gap?

Today’s dynamic, global market is driven by constant and rapid advances in technology.

European manufacturing companies face an ever-increasing challenge to have the right people with the right skills in place to best compete and grow. Despite high levels of unemployment, manufacturing companies across Europe still have unfilled vacancies.

More than ever, in a digital manufacturing industry, lifelong learning and meeting labour market demands in education and training is vital - co-operation between industry and education is an engine for better employability and competitiveness.

How can European policy makers effectively bridge the skills gap?

“Work-based learning is a central part of excellent vocational education and training and an effective way of getting digital skills into the workforce.”
Gilles Lodolo, Director for Education and Training, UIMM