Agricultural machinery, construction and handling equipment: what is the best way out of the crisis?

In the framework of this opinion a hearing (Agricultural machinery and construction and handling equipment: what is the best way out of the crisis?) was organized in Bologna, Italy, on 11 November 2010.

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Gist of the Opinion

The European construction equipment and agricultural machinery industries have been hit extremely hard by the crisis at a time when there is a major change in global demand. The sector is nevertheless part of a very competitive technologically advanced industry.

However, there are a number of actions needed at EU level to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector avoiding in the longer term the overcapacity of the EU production:

• a legal framework that does not limit the ability of manufacturers to innovate and develop equipment to reflect customers' requirements;
• a level playing field within Europe, through effective market supervision: Market surveillance and customs authorities should effectively enforce Regulation 765/2008 and tighten controls on the European market;
• product legislation and trade policy that ensures free access to global markets;
• European legislation that takes account of the relatively diminishing role of the European markets. The centre of the world market is increasingly shifting to South America and Asia, thus all necessary measures, including a reduction of red tape and the promotion of voluntary measures by the industry, should be envisaged to keep European manufacturers’ factory sites in the EU;
• harmonisation - within Europe and globally - of the road safety requirements and environmental protection;
• improved working conditions and implementing measures throughout the EU to avoid future overcapacities and to drive forward the development of new products and new ideas on work organisation based on the knowledge of all stakeholders;
• a programme of funding and incentives to support SMEs competitiveness.

Moreover, the opinion contains further and more detailed recommendations, which take into account, inter alia, the results of a hearing held on 11 November 2010 in Bologna as part of the EIMA (International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition).