INFO-POW: Vice-President Pavol Kovacik joined Final Conference

On 17 January, FIEC Vice President, Pavol Kovacik, intervened in the final conference of the INFO-POW project in Bratislava. This project, coordinated by the “Centre for welfare policy and research” aimed at assessing and identifying the challenges and needs of companies in the construction sector regarding access to information on posting of workers.During the stakeholder panel, where Mr. Kovacik represented FIEC, participants discussed the findings of the project, opportunities for up-scaling and reflected on the role of posting as a tool for labour mobility in the Internal Market.

Speaking about access to information for companies, Mr Kovacik stressed that “providing information doesn’t mean understanding information”. While there are different systems for wages, labour law or taxes in the EU, information should be clear, simple and easily accessible.



EU Leaders agree on Ukraine Facility


On 1 February, EU Leaders finally agreed on the European Commission’s proposal for the so-called “Ukraine Facility”, an instrument aimed at providing Ukraine with regular and predictable financial support between now and 2027.

Under the “Ukraine Facility” the Commission will provide up to € 50 billion in grants and highly concessional loans to Ukraine. This vital funding will help Ukraine keep its administration running, pay salaries and pensions and provide basic public services as it continues to defend itself against Russian aggression.

The “Ukraine Facility” was proposed by President Ursula von der Leyen in June 2023 as part of its broader mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).



Val Duchesse Social Partners Summit: Tripartite Declaration signed

On 31 January, the European cross-industry social partners (Business Europe, ETUC, SGI Europe, SMEunited), the European Commission and the EU Belgian Presidency met for the Val Duchesse Social Partners Summit and signed a declaration for a thriving European Social Dialogue.The signatories committed themselves in “putting European Social Dialogue at the heart of our future” and in “establishing a European Social Dialogue Envoy”. Established by the European Commission, the missions of the Envoy would be to support and coordinate the implementation of the Commission’s Communication on strengthening social dialogue in the EU and to be a contact point for the social partners.

Furthermore, the signatories launched the process towards a Pact for European Social Dialogue which will be concluded in 2025. Finally, a specific emphasis is put on the issue of labour and skills shortages with the European Commission committing to publish an Action Plan to address labour and skills shortages by Spring 2024.



New “Video of the Month”: Interview with Tim-Oliver Müller (Bauindustrie)

A new “Video of the Month” is available on FIEC website and on FIEC YouTube channel : a short interview with Tim-Oliver Müller, Director General of Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie (HDB), one of our two German member federations.In his intervention Tim-Oliver Müller highlights the critical situation of new residential buildings in Germany and its consequences and impacts on the national economy and German society.



European Commission launches two consultations on investments in energy efficiency

The European Commission has opened 2 public consultations on energy efficiency:
  • “Energy efficiency – assessing the level of EU & national funding“, and
  • Unlocking private investment in energy efficiency – guidance to Member States and market actors“.

Under the new EU Energy Efficiency Directive, the European Commission has to assess the state of public funding and the capacity of EU countries to increase the uptake of private investment in energy efficiency.

At the EU level, there is currently no dedicated funding targeting exclusively energy efficiency in any of the large EU funding programmes“, the call for evidence reads. This is why the European Commission will also evaluate whether an EU-level energy efficiency mechanism is needed, and will provide guidance to Member States and market actors on how to unlock private investment, notably by developing innovative financing tools, as public financing alone is not enough to match the additional investment needs (estimated at € 165 billion per year).

Given the “truly relevant contribution of building renovations to deliver both the energy efficiency targets and the decarbonisation objectives and the strengthened ambition put forward by the recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Guidance will also provide recommendations on implementation of innovative financing tools and financial instruments specifically addressing building renovations“, the call for evidence reads.

Both consultations are open until 26 February.





Eurobridge Conference on 5 April : A word by Christian Tridon

While research and case studies have been carried out on the integration of a range of sensors into the human cortex, tomorrow’s bridges are following simila developments thanks to sensors installed within their structure. These sensors will collect and transmit information on the behavior of the whole structure. This will make it possible to anticipate any malfunctions and therefore improve maintenance and safety.However, in order to successfully exploit such a breakthrough, we must be prepared to invest the necessary resources in monitoring structures.

In most of our countries, we have become aware that bridges – especially those built since the 1950s in reinforced concrete – are often in a serious advanced state of deterioration, mainly due to corrosion and increase in heavy traffic. By the time we are made aware of such deterioration, it is often too late to properly rehabilitate the structures.

This situation is not only a cause for concern, as it can jeopardise the safety of users, but also results in significantly higher costs for companies (compared to the costs of effective and regular maintenance). In addition, the repair or even rebuild works and their impact generate a significant carbon footprint.

Our bridges are part of the heritage that enables land communication, the basis of our social and economic exchanges. For the first time, our modern societies are confronted with the consequences of the accelerated ageing of these structures. Today, we are familiar with protection techniques that need to be put into practice.

The 3rd edition of the EUROBRIDGE conference, to be held in Brussels on 5 April, will provide a platform to discuss all these issues. And as the European elections will be held in June 2024, we will take this opportunity to review the overall transport policy of the EU and its Member States. The event is supported by FIEC and FNTP’s media partner KHL Group and its specialised “Construction Europe” news magazine. FNTP (Federation National des Travaux Publics) is one of the two FIEC’s French member federations.

Registration to the event is open at this link, where you can find all relevant information and details about the conference, including the updated programme.

Christian Tridon

Vice-Chairman of the FIEC Working Group “Structural Maintenance”