The total removal of all used asbestos and all asbestos containing products has to be a priority target of the European Union. The EESC encourages the EU to work with the social partners and other stakeholders to develop and share action plans for asbestos removal and management. Several EU Member States have developed registers of buildings containing asbestos. The other Member States should be encouraged to develop such registers.
There is an urgent need to reindustrialise Europe. In order to achieve this the engineering and technical professions should be focused. These professions are indispensable in developing innovative production methods and products. However, without appropriate human resources and their potential, experience and knowledge, this goal is not to be achieved. Industry and companies should introduce communication policy to emphasise the attractiveness of the industrial sector; the crucial role belongs to industry associations. Better dialogue between companies and organisations in charge of vocational training might be an important step in facing the employment creation issue. What is more it could reduce differences between demand and supply.
The policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030, published by the European Commission in January 2014, is mainly concerned with reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union. However, the proposed framework, which is now the subject of much debate, does not ignore the need for competitive and secure energy supplies. On the latter, it proposes that further exploitation of sustainable indigenous energy sources is a necessity, including the exploitation of conventional and non-conventional fossil fuels. Therefore, given that 88% of the EU's conventional energy reserves are in the form of coal and lignite, there is a clear need to consider how these reserves can be exploited sustainably. A report on the future shape of the coal and lignite industry in Europe should be prepared showing the conditions under which it can contribute to competitiveness and security objectives. In the case of security, the European Commission published the EU Energy Security Strategy in May 2014. Various measures are described that would increase the security of energy supply in the European Union.
The Commission’s 2012 Communication on "promoting the cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the European Union" was a milestone in the recognition of the economic, social and cultural importance of these industries by the European institutions. This Communication was accompanied by two staff working documents (SWD) — one relating to the competitiveness of high-end industries , and the other to the competitiveness of the European fashion sector . This was followed by an action plan on the competitiveness of high-end industries and the European fashion sector.
Digital technologies have reached a degree of maturity that allows their use across a wide range of economic sectors in manufacturing as well as in service industries. According to the 2010 edition of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), more than 50% of the EU workforce use ICT in their daily work, with individual EU Member States reaching rates above 85%. Services sectors are identified as the heaviest users of ICT (for instance, more than 90% of finance employees using ICTS in their daily work), which is to be seen as a natural consequence of the increasing digitalisation of many services – such as eBanking, eCommerce, and online media.
The offshore industry comprises offshore energy production, together with the gas, oil and minerals extraction sectors. Some of the most rapidly developing markets are linked to these sectors, offering potential for long-term sustainable and smart growth. Maritime industries linked to the European offshore industry, including sectors such as shipbuilding, ship repairs and conversion, marine equipment and shipping supplies, have both specialist expertise and the requisite human potential enabling them to tap into markets linked to offshore sectors.
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.
Studies point to new dynamics in the world economy with substantial consequences for the competitiveness of national economies. The theme of the information report is inspired by a recent study of the Boston Consulting Group. In analysing in-depth the cost-related aspects in manufacturing among a great many countries the study proves that traditional views about the relationship between the developed and underdeveloped/emerging economies is becoming obsolete. In all groupings there are frontrunners and slow developers...
In June 2011, the Commission adopted a Communication on Fighting Corruption in the EU, establishing the EU Anti-Corruption Report to monitor and assess Member States' efforts in this area with a view to developing a stronger political engagement to address corruption effectively. Corruption is defined in the report in a broad sense as "any abuse of power for private gain".
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.