We, the manufacturing industry, are ready to play a vital role in Europe's economic recovery but the European Union must put the right conditions in place. This was the message we delivered to the pinnacle of the European Commission when Orgalime and CEEMET presented our joint manifesto - Manufacturing a Stronger and Greener Europe - to the then European Commission President Barroso at an event staged in the European Parliament (November 2012).
The manifesto was our response to the European Commission's communication setting out a strategy to boost industrial output to 20% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The manifesto outlined the conditions believed necessary to reach the 20% target and to make Europe once again an attractive region for industrial investment that produces high quality, clean manufacturing processes that in turn, provide the jobs and growth so desperately required. The 11 key issues to address were:
- Coherent and predictable regulation: improving existing rules instead of creating new ones, reducing costs of legislation by making better impact assessments, reducing the burden of new legislation, in particular for SMEs.
- Efficient functioning of the internal market: more effort needs to be made to achieve harmonised application of legislation inthe internal market. To facilitate this regulations are better than directives; enforcement of EU legislation must be strengthened through improved market surveillance.
- Environment legislation: should be predictable and manageable and not undermine the competiveness of the industry; better balance additional costs against additional benefits and the Eco design Directive should provide a holistic approach.
- Research and Development: funding must be targeted to industry needs, PPPs must be encouraged, more synergies between Horizon 2020 and structural funds are required and Horizon 2020 should aim to allocate 100 billion Euros from 2014 to 2020.
- Modernising infrastructures: new 'historical investment' in high voltage networks and R&D, electrical installations require a modernisation to deal with smart grids technology, new standards for safety and security standards, better support of telemedicine and e-health.
- Finance: we want an adequate tax level and less bureaucracy, an efficient banking system, easier access to credit for manufacturing companies and a reasonable implementation of Basel III rules.
- A balanced energy policy: better managed support for green energy technologies, reliable and affordable energy and reasonable global carbon reduction targets instead of unilateral European targets.
- Competitive labour markets: restricting additional labour costs, create modern, effective and employment friendly social protection systems and combat overregulated national labour markets.
- Future proof national social security systems: adapt national security systems to new working patterns, reduce ancillary costs, keep occupational pension schemes simple and affordable.
- Addressing the skills shortages and competence deficits: promote lifelong learning, promote a culture of practical learning from early age onwards, focus on excellence in vocational and higher education; establish a Value Added Manufacturing Knowledge and Innovation Community at the EIT.
- Open world markets and raw materials: focus on open global markets, including in developing markets; raw materials trade should not be restricted.