Glass in Europe at a crossroads: delivering a greener, energy-efficient industry, while enhancing competitiveness and maintaining quality jobs (own-initiative opinion)

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Mnenje EESO: Glass in Europe at a crossroads: delivering a greener, energy-efficient industry, while enhancing competitiveness and maintaining quality jobs (own-initiative opinion)

Key points:

The EESC:

  • believes the European glass industry is an innovative and highly strategic sector. Glass products are indispensable to the transition towards a climate-neutral circular economy and therefore it asks EU policymakers to put the glass sector and all its subsectors at the heart of current policy priorities such as the "Fit for 55" package, the Circular Economy Package, the Digital Agenda, the strategic value chains agenda, the EU's international trade policy and the EU's Renovation Wave;
  • recognises that an energy transition within the sector is necessary but will result in major cost increases in doing business due to higher operational costs and capital requirements, and therefore strongly recommends that EU policies support both capital and operational expenditure, renewable energy capacity building, affordable energy supply and fair competition from outside the EU market;
  • supports all EU policies and national recovery plans that facilitate the transport revolution to smart and climate-neutral cars and the massive expansion of public transport systems;
  • strongly recommends that the EU classify glass as a permanent material, demands a switch from non-linear materials to fully circular, reusable and recyclable glass and strongly recommends wider implementation of circular economy principles, coupled with public and private financial support and partnerships;
  • urges the EU to recognise that glass is indispensable for the production of green energy (photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines etc.) and to develop new policies to restart the production of photovoltaic cells in Europe and safeguard the production of other strategic glass products and the value chains they belong to (e.g. windscreens for transportation manufacturers);
  • requests that investment in education and training be supported. A green and digital transition in Europe, and in the glass industry in particular, has to be a just transition that includes workers and social dialogue at every level;
  • calls on the EU to protect our glass industries against the risk of carbon leakage. The Committee asks that the CBAM include a solution for exports and that carbon leakage measures be strengthened by complementing the CBAM with full benchmark-based free allocation at least until 2030, in line with WTO rules. It also recommends more focused support and analysis for the sector as a whole and its subsectors.

Downloads

Agenda - Hearing on Glass in Europe - CCMI/180