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.
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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 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.
The glass industry is being doubly impacted by the economic crisis, since its activity relies heavily on the economic health of other sectors such as the construction and automotive sectors. Weak economic growth and slowing domestic demand are specifically due to the austerity policies coordinated at European level and together account for the crisis that is affecting the sector.
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.
One common rule to apply in all Member States can be much simpler and more efficient than a complex web of varying rules. However, the challenge is to keep this legislation simple by making use of withdrawals, amendments and repeals.
In order to maximise the benefits offered by wood products in the carbon balance and to enhance the competitiveness of the European woodworking industry and its capacity to drive innovation, the European Economic and Social Committee has drawn up the following recommendations...