“Make the industry cool”: FIEC discusses research with European Commission

“Start with the impact” said Peter Dröll, Director of Industrial Technologies (Unit D), DG Research, during a meeting with FIEC’s Technical Commission last week.   The future of the construction industry is “digital, circular and safe”. These aspects were discussed as well as some of the specific aspects – at least those that are already known – of the Horizon Europe programme. In an exchange that included topics such as renovation, industrial processes, breakthrough technologies and attracting new talent, FIEC’s President of the Technical Commission, José-Michaël Chenu expressed his concerns that the pressure from public sector clients to drive down price is making it increasingly difficult to offer innovative solutions in real-life works contracts.





Political agreement on InvestEU programme

On 20th March, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached a provisional inter-institutional political agreement on the outline of the InvestEU programme for the period 2021-2027.The InvestEU programme aims to take over from the Juncker investment plan and will bring together 14 existing financial instruments. Its financial arm, the InvestEU Fund, will provide a public guarantee from the EU and EIB budget for private and risky investment projects selected by an investment committee.

The European Investment Bank will be responsible for managing 75% of the EU’s public guarantee and the implementing partners (e.g. national development banks) will manage the remaining part of it.

Also, priority of the European Parliament, at least 55% of the investments dedicated to sustainable infrastructure must be compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement.

FIEC, which strongly supported the current Juncker investment plan, welcomes this agreement. Unfortunately, the exact amounts dedicated to the Fund are not known yet, as they will be discussed within the Council in the framework of the overall negotiations on the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework for 2021-2027. The European Parliament called for a guarantee of €40.8 billion which would trigger €698 billion in investments.





Next steps towards a European Labour Authority (ELA)

Following the political agreement reached in the “trilogue” what are the main steps towards the setting up of the ELA?First of all the European Parliament, during its plenary meeting in April, and the Council of Ministers, probably in May, will need to formally endorse the agreement. This should be a formality and the Regulation setting up the ELA would then enter into force around mid-June.

In the meantime the procedure for deciding the seat of the ELA has been launched: the interested countries (for the moment the ones known are Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania) have to submit their candidature by 6/5/2019 and a final decision will be taken by the Council on 30/6/2019. Initially the ELA will be located in Brussels and the transfer to its definitive seat should take 12-18 months.

Within the Commission a task force has been set up in order to work on the more operational aspects such as the appointment of the Executive Director, first staff members and Management Board. The latter should hold its first meeting at the beginning of October, still under the “Juncker Commission”.

The National Liaison Officers, to be nominated by the Member States, will start working for the ELA as from 1/1/2020.

Finally, as regards the involvement of the Social Partners in the “Stakeholders Group”, they should be designated by the end of 2019.