The EESC welcomes the Communication and concludes that the challenges facing European industries are not abating, and without a competitive industrial base, Europe will not secure growth and more jobs. In its opinion, the EESC particularly recommends to pay more attention to the role of the services and corresponding policies, in particular knowledge based services, to take measures to reduce energy prices and to encourage innovation, EU competition and state aid policies.
In July 2013, the EESC has adopted an Opinion on Industrial policy in which industrial policy was qualified as a Growth initiative with great potentials. Following up the Opinion it is suggested to discuss somewhat underestimated aspects of the on-going industrial cycle that are vital for future growth and jobs, entailing huge consequences for (manufacturing) industry. It is about the impact of services, digitalisation, ICT and new variations in the same framework - such as 3D printing and other applications (ICT-plus) - on the industrial processes. Services are an increasing part of the European economy, and creating more jobs than manufacturing. The ICT-industry itself is growing in Europe by 10% annually. Services and ICT-plus have huge socio-economic and political implications.
The European packaging sector comprises five main sub-sectors. "Paper and board" (including paper bags and cartons) is the largest consumer packaging category with a~34% share of the total packaging market. "Rigid plastics" (tubs, pots and jars etc.) is the second-largest packaging category with a ~27% share and is one of the faster‑growing categories, forecast to grow above real GDP (~4% per year) until 2015.
The Communication of the Commission presents an EU Quality Framework for Anticipation of Change and Restructuring (QFR). It follows on from the Green Paper ‘Restructuring and anticipation of change: what lessons from recent experience’ of 17 January 2012 and the request made by the European Parliament on 15 January 2013 in its Resolution on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring based on Article 225 of the TFEU (known as the Cercas Report).