FIEC at Recovery Construction Forum & Rebuild Ukraine, Warsaw

FIEC actively took part in the Recovery Construction Forum 2.0 – and exhibition ReBuild Ukraine, held on 14-15 November in Warsaw, with FIEC President Philip Crampton,  with FIEC Honorary President and Chair of the joint Task Force “Ukraine”, Kjetil Tonning and with FIEC Director General, Domenico Campogrande.

President Philip Crampton noted that “Ukraine has already begun to rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed as a result of the Russian aggression. In the political field, Ukraine is moving towards joining the EU”, and concluded: “The goal we all strive for is to rebuild a better Ukraine, adhering to international standards.”

The two-day event focused on the work needed to rebuild infrastructure, industry, energy and housing in the country.  It brought together associations, institutions, investors, government agencies, business organisations as well as companies active in the sector, with the aim of fostering international collaboration and support for Ukraine’s economic, social and political development.
This year, the theme was centered around energy security, the decentralisation of energy production and  green energy, which are all crucial topics as Ukraine seeks to both rebuild and transform its energy sector to align with broader global trends such as the sustainable transformation of the energy sector.Furthermore, a “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed  at the Forum by the European sectoral Social Partners for the construction industry, FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW). The memorandum lays down some social-related principles for a sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine (see article below).



FIEC & EFBWW sign Memorandum of Understanding on the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine

During the Recovery Construction Forum 2.0 held in Warsaw on 14 November, the European sectoral Social Partners of the construction industry, FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW), signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” which focuses on social-related aspects of the reconstruction of Ukraine. With this memorandum, FIEC and EFBWW encourage the concerned stakeholders and authorities to put in place an adequate framework aiming at, among other things, combatting corruption, promoting quality jobs, ensuring the development of skills and fostering the cooperation between Social Partners.FIEC President Philip Crampton pointed out that “(…) Despite technological developments, construction activities remain mainly driven by people. Our workforce is a key pillar for the functioning of our companies“. He also said that “it is therefore our responsibility and our duty as employers to take care of our workers in all work-related aspects (working conditions, safety, health, training,…)“, and concluded: “This explains why Social Dialogue, i.e., the dialogue between employers and workers, figures among the highest priorities for FIEC“.

Together with their Ukrainian counterparts, FIEC and EFBWW will continue to cooperate and work together for the implementation of the Memorandum.



FIEC invited to public hearing on EU Soil Monitoring Law

On 15 November, FIEC participated in a public hearing in the European Parliament on the Soil Monitoring Law proposal. The hearing was hosted by the EPP, S&D and Renew Europe parliamentary groups.FIEC welcomed the proposal as healthy soils are vital to combat the effects of climate change. However, speaking for FIEC, Policy Officer Jerome Radtka pointed out that, considering the housing crisis, the need for building land in many Member States and the already high costs of construction, the proposed “land take mitigation principles” should be better reconciled with socio-economic aspects.

The Soil Monitoring Law aims at establishing a harmonised monitoring framework for soils in the EU and at introducing sustainable management practices. The directive also contains principles to mitigate “land take” and foresees measures to remediate contaminated sites.

EU institutions agree on “Critical Raw Materials Act”

On 13 November, EU institutions found a provisional agreement on the EU’s proposal to boost the supply of strategic raw materials and thereby make the EU more competitive, independent and sovereign.

According to the agreement, long-term partnerships with third countries on critical raw materials will be established, including knowledge and technology transfer and training and upskilling for new jobs.

Moreover, the agreement contains circularity targets to foster the extraction of more strategic raw materials from waste products. Administrative burden for companies, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will be reduced as much as possible. Large companies exposed to shortages in strategic raw materials will have to regularly carry out a risk assessment of their supply chain.

The agreement is also good news for the construction industry as its demand for raw materials is set to increase in the coming years and as research and innovation will be stimulated along the entire industrial value chain.



Provisional agreement on revised Environmental Crimes Directive

On 16 November, EU institutions reached a provisional agreement on the protection of the environment through criminal law. Environmental crime is one of the largest criminal activities in the world.The new rules provide an updated list of acts related to the environment that qualify as criminal offences at EU level, including, for example, the illegal depletion of water resources or the marketing of products derived from imported deforestation.

The revised directive also foresees stricter sanctions for so-called qualified offences, i.e. those causing the destruction of an ecosystem or habitat within a protected site or damage to air, soil or water quality.

Offenders, including companies and their representatives, can be sentenced to imprisonment or face other sanctions such as: fines, obligations to reinstate the damaged environment or compensate for the damage caused, the withdrawal of licenses, bans on access to public funding, or closure.

The European Parliament and Member States both need to vote on the final text before the directive will be published in the EU’s Official Journal and can enter into force.



Coordination of Social Security systems on the EU Council’s table

On 17 November, the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU organised a meeting of the COREPER (the Committee of Permanent Representatives)  to discuss the revision of Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems. The discussion on the text has been ongoing since several years: both the European Parliament and the Council of the EU have been unable to agree on a common position in past years. In preparation of the meeting, the Spanish Presidency presented new proposals for potential compromises.In reaction, the European sectoral Social Partners of the Construction industry, FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW), published a joint press release to call on Member States to reject any exemptions to the obligation of prior notification. For FIEC’s Director General, Domenico Campogrande, “it is of key importance to ensure that prior notification does effectively apply to postings in the construction industry, including for short term postings”.
Even though most of the Member States do not support the new proposals put forward by the Spanish Presidency, a trilogue meeting will take place on 21 November to make progress in the discussions.



SIDE-CIC project: Survey on Social ID Cards in construction

FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) have recently launched an EU-funded project called “Social ID Cards in the Construction Sector” (SIDE-CIC). The project focuses on the potential interconnection of card schemes of social security systems within the European construction sector and will consist of several elements, including a mapping exercise, an analysis of the legal framework and a feasibility study into how to interconnect these systems. Joint Recommendations will also be issued as project output.In the initial stage of the project, we invite interested readers and stakeholders to participate in a brief survey which aims to identify the existence of social ID cards in various EU countries and to understand their key features and involved stakeholders. The survey is accessible through this page.
The information obtained from the survey will serve as a foundation for the work to come (desk research and interviews with national Social Partners, relevant authorities and experts).



DESOCO 2: first Project Meeting

The European sectoral Social Partners for the Construction industry, FIEC and the EFBWW, have organised the first meeting of the EU-funded project “Follow up of Decentralised Thematic Social Dialogue for the Construction Industry” (DESOCO 2)”. The meeting was held in Warsaw on 15 November and focused on the reconstruction of Ukraine.Representatives of FIEC and EFBWW had the opportunity to discuss topics such as the challenges linked to the country’s recovery phase, initiatives taken at national level and the 2024-2027 Work Programme of FIEC and EFBWW.

The DESOCO 2 project, which is co-financed by the European Commission, aims at deepening the exchanges between sectoral Social Partners in the Central and Eastern European countries on some specific priorities that are included in the Multi-annual Work Programme of the Social Dialogue.


   DESOCO 2   

Ukraine Green Recovery Conference in Vilnius from 28 November to 1st December

The war in Ukraine and environmental issues continue to attract the attention and interest of the international community.
From 28 November to 1st December 2023, the European Commission will host a four-day conference in Vilnius on the Green Recovery in Ukraine. It aims to take stock of the challenges ahead and to discuss the strategies and concrete solutions for a green recovery of Ukraine.
The conference and its various panels will attract policy-makers, mayors, business actors and organisations as well as civil society. Check out the event programme. Here is a link to register. A video message by Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, is available on the event website.