Michel Barnier at FIEC Conference in Rome to prepare our messages to the candidates of the EU 2024 Elections

In his special address to FIEC Annual Conference, held in Rome on 12 May, Michel Barnier, former EU Commissioner and Chief Negotiator on Brexit, illustrated how the Covid pandemic and the latest geo-political developments have impacted the EU structures and economy.

Building our Campaign for the 2024 EU Elections

The conference, entitled “Building our Campaign for the 2024 EU Elections”, was hosted at the Rome headquarters of our Italian member federation the Associazione Nazionale Costruttori Edili (ANCE). Barnier stressed the importance of seeking ‘’unity’’ for Europe, and presented his outlook on the forthcoming 2024 EU elections«Due to the uncertainties and weak stability of the World – and Europe – we need to protect, consolidate, reform, improve and strengthen the Single Market, which is our main asset» – he remarked.

With reference to the role of FIEC, Mr. Barnier commented positively on the usefulness of «(…) being represented in Brussels, at the heart of the institutions, to coordinate, act and speak collectively at EU level and with continuity».

FIEC President, Philip Crampton, stressed that «during the current mandate, the European Commission and the other Institutions have defined the framework and set the basis for a decarbonised Europe by 2050. It is now time to implement such transition and the construction industry has a key role to play in this plan».

Cities of 2050

The event combined the political, socio-economic and environmental dimensions with the entrepreneurial spirit. A specific focus was given to the challenges and opportunities of the future Cities of 2050 with a presentation of ‘’Oasis of Innovation’’, a concept developed by Miloslavsky Architects, combining breakthrough technology, sustainable resources, materials, business models and management methods to build smart cites in the desert.

Honorary Presidencies

On this occasion FIEC President Philip Crampton together with ANCE President Federica Brancaccio awarded the FIEC Honorary Presidencies to Luisa Todini (Italy) & Thomas Bauer (Germany). «We pay this tribute to two VIPs of the construction industry to thank them for their unfailing commitment over the years spent with FIEC», said Crampton.



EU Parliament wants to speed up standardisation process

In a so-called “own-initiative report” adopted on 9 May 2023, the European Parliament calls on the European Commission to “establish a clear set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and guidelines on the aspects of standardisation within its remit, in particular for standards linked to the objectives of the European Green Deal and of the Europe Digital Decade”.It also points out that the Commission should “urgently reconsider” its approach following the James Elliot Case. The report encourages the Commission to continue working with the ESOs (the three European Standardisation Organisations, namely CEN, CENELECT and ETSI) on ways to achieve timely delivery of standards.



World’s most and least expensive cities to build in

In its construction briefing, KHL provided the answer to those questioning about the World’s most and least expensive cities to build in. Take a ‘global’ look via the below tab and read the full story.A number of factors impacted costs including high levels of inflation, which continued to affect most cities in the report. As a result, many of the top 10 most expensive cities remained unchanged from last year, including hotspots such as Munich, Copenhagen and Zurich.

5 of the top 10 were also cities with dollar-denominated or dollar-pegged currencies, including Hong Kong, while Boston and Philadelphia in the US were new entrants, thanks to a combination of dollar appreciation and the ongoing impact of local inflation.

Top 5 (most expensive):

1. Geneva
2. London
3. New York
4. San Francisco
5. Munich

Top 5 (least expensive):

1. Bengaluru,India
2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Delhi, India
4. Mumbai, India
5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


The Year of Skills 2023 is officially launched 

On 9th May, Europe Day, the European Commission organised the European Year of Skills Festival to celebrate the official launch of the Year of Skills, announced by Ursula von der Leyen during her State of the Union Address in September 2022.

This hybrid event highlighted the importance of skills by presenting work of local, national and European stakeholders, especially on digital and green transitions. With an objective to have at least 60% of all adults participating in training every year by 2030, the European Commission intends to support skills development in cooperating with social partners and companies.

The European Parliament and the Council already adopted the decision on a European Year of Skills 2023 earlier this year. They stressed that the objectives are to “further promote a mindset of reskilling and upskilling” and to address labour shortages in relevant sectors such as construction.

The Year of Skills will be an opportunity for the FIEC to showcase labour shortage and vocational training issues, in cooperation with its social partner, the EFBWW (European Federation of Building and Wood Workers).



7 May 2023 – Open Day of Construction work sites organised by Embuild

Almost 100 remarkable sites opened to the general public for the 16th edition of this event organised annually by Embuild, FIEC’s Belgian member federation. On the programme, among others, major infrastructure works, high energy efficiency housing, heating networks, circular renovation and reconstruction. “This is how we showcase innovative construction and how it can offer sustainable solutions for housing, mobility and the climate, among others“, explained Niko Demeester, CEO of Embuild.Some key figures from Embuild‘s economic survey:
  • The order books are full for 5.96 months. Activity in the construction and installation sector improves slightly compared to March 2023.
  • 31% of companies have liquidity problems, compared to 37% in March 2023.
  • 7.9% face payment delays in private contracts, 7.4% in public contracts.
  • 8% expect problems with the supply of building materials in the coming months.
  • 37% expect building material prices to rise in the coming months.
  • 49% pass on the rise in building material prices to customers.
  • In residential construction, 7 out of 10 companies find that one or more customers have postponed their construction or renovation project.
  • Still in residential construction, 8 out of 10 companies see one or more of their clients reduce their construction or renovation project.
The information, data and figures on the success of the campaign and the Work Site Open Day were made available by Embuild. French language readers can find out more via the below tab.