European Commission presents its new Industrial Strategy for Europe

On 10th March, the European Commission presented its new Industrial Strategy. In particular, the European Commission wants to better address the industry challenges linked to the green and digital transition, as well as better equip European industries in the face of increasingly threatening and often unfair international competition.
While these are priority issues for the construction industry, previous drafts of the communication were not mentioning our sector. FIEC therefore sent a letter to Commissioner Breton to raise the importance of taking us on board in this strategy. We are now pleased to see that the document specifically refers to the «Renovation Wave» and the necessity for a more sustainable built environment.
Amongst the other forthcoming initiatives which FIEC welcomes and will follow closely, we can highlight: a White Paper on an instrument on foreign subsidies by mid-2020, also looking at foreign access to public procurement and EU funding; the swift adoption of the International Procurement Instrument; a comprehensive strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility; further legislation and guidance on green public procurement; a renewed Sustainable Finance strategy; and the launch of a European Pact for Skills aimed at up- and re-skilling the workforce and unlocking investment in life-long learning.
In addition, the European Commission will set up an Industrial Forum by September 2020 to support this work.
In parallel with this strategy, the European Commission presented an «SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe» and a «Single Market Enforcement Action Plan».

 

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Circular Economy and carbon neutrality linked in new plan

The new Circular Economy Action Plan was published last week.  It has been broadly welcomed by FIEC as it builds on the previous plan, while also introducing a stronger link to carbon neutrality.  The Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment, expected in 2021, is particularly important. FIEC is also pleased to see that the EU institutions are tackling barriers to circularity. Our press release can be found on the link below and the Action Plan can be found on the Commission’s website

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/

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Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Finance

Following the publication of the final Technical Expert Group (TEG) report on EU taxonomy on 9 March, the European Commission organised a web-based Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Finance on 12 March. Although the agenda had to be shortened, the event provided a great deal of information. Questions to the speakers could be asked via a dedicated online platform. Due to the immense number of questions, not all were treated during the event. However, the European Commission will provide written answers to all questions in the coming weeks.
FIEC thanks the European Commission for having organised the event in spite of difficult cirumstances and is willing to contribute further in the coming months. A call for experts for the future Platform on Sustainable Finance is expected in May/June. At the end of this year, a consultation will be held in order to collect feedback on the first series of delegated acts.

 

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ANCE forced to ask the Italian Government to suspend all worksites

As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, our Italian member ANCE has asked the Italian Government to allow construction companies to suspend all on-going worksites.
The President of ANCE, Gabriele Buia, declared that in the current situation construction companies are not able to provide their workers with the required health and safety measures. It is impossible to find sufficient individual protective equipment, to ensure transport, meals and accommodation for workers, as well as to allow the supply of material and the proper functioning of the whole supply chain, including the sub-contractors who are not able to reach worksites.
ANCE is also asking the Italian Government to :
  • faciltate the use of «social safety nets»  for the workers of the sector;
  • suspend all fiscal and social security payments;
  • declare an effective and automatic moratorium on all debts combined with immediate payments for the suspended worksites , in order to provide companies with liquidity.