Tradition and innovation: Honorary FIEC President Johan Willemen

In special recognition of distinguished service rendered to FIEC and the European construction industry, the FIEC General Assembly bestowed on Johan Willemen, FIEC President 2014-2016 and Vice-President “Social Affairs” 2012-2014, the title “Honorary President”.Photos: Harald Gottschalk



Public consultation on a European Labour Authority and on a European Social Security Number

The European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views of the broader public on setting up a European Labour Authority and the introduction of a European Social Security Number. The deadline for taking part in this consultation is 7/1/2018.

The European Labour Authority should ensure that EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way. The Authority would support national administrations, businesses, and mobile workers by strengthening cooperation at EU level on matters such as cross-border mobility and social security coordination. It would also improve access to information for public authorities and mobile workers and enhance transparency regarding their rights and obligations.

The European Social Security Number (ESSN) aims at simplifying and modernising citizens’ interaction with administrations in a range of policy areas. An EU Social Security Number would facilitate the identification of individuals across borders for the purposes of social security coordination and allow the quick and accurate verification of their social security insurance status. It would facilitate administrative procedures for citizens by optimising the use of digital tools.

Both legislative proposals are planned to be tabled by spring 2018.


Commission and EIB launch new advisory service to help cities plan investments

At the 2017 Cities Forum in Rotterdam on Tuesday 28 November, the European Commission and the European Investment bank (EIB) announced the launch of URBIS (Urban Investment Support), an advisory service that will help cities to access funding more easily to support their urban development.
Individual municipal projects, for example in the fields of urban regeneration or energy efficiency, can be too risky or too small for the market. At the same time, funding for integrated urban programmes can also be difficult to access, because they group several small projects across different sectors.
URBIS will help design, plan and implement cities’ investment strategies and projects.  Cities of all sizes in all Member States can apply. The objective is to see solid projects get off the ground in the short to medium-term.
For now, URBIS will start by using the existing advisory and project services of the European Investment Bank (EIAH). If it proves successful, additional resources could be considered.


Smart technology changing every 6 months

Last week DG GROW hosted a meeting on the digitalisation of construction.  The topic is not new, but as well as the usual discussions about data platforms, stunning presentations about what smart buildings look like gave anyone who was still mystified by the concept a clear explanation of what such a building is. It was also very clear that these buildings are not light years away, but are possible now.  Moreover, “smartness” is not limited to new buildings.  Existing buildings already have some basic equipment that captures the data necessary to eventually be converted into a smart building. One of the challenges for the industry, is that the technology is changing rapidly, so it is difficult to write standards and to anticipate when to make the necessary switches and what technology to acquire. Not discussed at the meeting, but currently being considered by FIEC is the matter of smart infrastructure.  One example of the work that needs to be done is related to roads.  Self-driving vehicles are expected to be on the market by 2021.  However, to function to their maximum capacity, enabling not only the transmission of data that will change journeys by road on a technical level, but also significantly improve the quality of our lives – our health and stress levels in particular – as we see traffic jams and accidents virtually disappear; we need completely different infrastructure.  Connected roads need a huge investment in the coming years and they will be very different to the roads we have now. FIEC will discuss this subject at its next Construction 4.0 Working Group.  In the meantime, more about Construction 4.0 can be found on our dedicated webpage, by clicking on the link below.