The European engineering industry (EI) plays a vital role in the economic recovery of Europe and the ambitious goal to increase the industrial output by 2020 to more than 20% of the GDP. However, more investment of companies is necessary to generate such growth, to reverse the current trend and to get people out of unemployment.
The European Commission under the European Strategy 2020 has established a goal to raise the industry contribution to GDP from 15.6% (2011) to 20% by 2020. The Industrial Policy Communication updated of October 2012 outlines a strategy to reverse the declining role of industry announcing actions in four main areas: Investment in new technologies and innovation; Access to Markets; Access to Finance and Human capital and skills.
The Food and drink Industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU economy employing directly 4.25 million workers in the EU. It is a non-cyclical and resilient pillar with a strong presence in all member states. It processes 70% of EU agriculture produce and provides safe, quality and nutritious food to the benefit of European consumers, besides being the largest global exporter of food and drink products. The sector generates 7% of EU GDP and should be an important contributor to achieve the EU target set in the 2020 strategy of achieving the necessary expansion of the manufacturing sector that will make it a contributor of 20% of European GDP.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals in principle as a balanced compromise between the objectives of climate-neutral mobility, the innovation capacity of the European automotive industry and preserving quality jobs. In particular, the EESC considers the planned interim target for 2025 of a 15% reduction in emissions compared to 2021 to be very demanding as the required changes are to be made to combustion engines at the cutting edge of technology. Despite this, the EESC views the market development towards zero-emission vehicles and low-emissions vehicles and hybrids as an opportunity. Furthermore the EESC calls for a mid-term review for 2024 to include the state of play regarding the qualification and (re)training of staff as well as an updated analysis of the areas in which (additional) action is required.
The EESC believes that the proposal is focused on the practical steps necessary to address real consequences for the vehicle manufacturing and distribution industry and consumers as a result of unavoidable legal changes in the certification of type-approval issues by UK authorities on the basis of EU laws. It should therefore act as a template for many other similar agreements.
The EESC welcomes the proposal that follows feedback received by stakeholders and Member States in the first implementation period.
COMPLEMENTARY OPINION to the OPINION
European Economic and Social Committee
Simplification of the regulatory environment for the machinery sector
(exploratory opinion), drawn up by the INT section (INT/347)