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.
In the framework of this opinion a hearing (Opportunities and challenges for a more competitive European woodworking and furniture sector) was organized in Praha, Czech Republic, on 9 June 2011.
The packaging sector is pivotal to the resilience of the EU economy, as a strategic autonomy asset and as a key element to guarantee the security of products supply. For this reason, it is essential here to raise awareness about the central role that it plays in the EU economy.
Wood as a building material has been rediscovered by the building industry. It offers amazing possibilities for a sustainable growth and local employment in Europe. Advantages for human health and wood cultures are put forward while external demand from third countries is putting the European industry at risk.
- The opinion stresses that wood is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional building materials, emitting fewer carbon emissions and promoting forest conservation through sustainable management.
- Education and training in timber construction can create job opportunities in rural areas.
- Wood is an ideal material for earthquake-prone areas due to its anti-seismic properties.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) believe that the present and future of critical raw materials resilience is of essential concern to EU's organised civil society. For this reason, and because the Commission's Action Plan represents a step forward by providing a clear roadmap with initiatives and actions to be taken at EU level, overall the EESC recommends that the European Parliament and the Council support this approach.
Inaugural speech by President Luca JAHIER at the Seminar in Helsinki on Tuesday 7 July 2015.