Belgian EU Presidency:
What priorities for our sector?

Belgium took over the rotating EU presidency from Spain on 1 January and will hold it until 30 June 2024, when it will be handed over to Hungary. During this six-month period, the country will lead the work of the Council of the European Union, building cooperation and agreements between member states.The Presidency’s priorities, which include a focus on construction-related issues, include the reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine, the renovation wave, the asbestos dossier and progress on social security coordination for an ambitious social agenda (given the Spanish Presidency’s failure to reach a common position on the revision of Regulation 883/2004). The Presidency will also promote the process of digitalisation of social security.

With regard to health and safety issues, the Belgian Presidency has set an agenda focusing on mental health at work and supporting progress on non-legislative proposals.

The Belgian Presidency also intends to step up efforts to “improve the accuracy, reliability and relevance of statistics in key areas”. It will support the work of the European Labour Authority (ELA) for a well-functioning internal market and “promote discussions aimed at evaluating the ELA and reflecting on its future development”.

Finally, the Presidency will prepare a declaration on the future of social Europe in view of the so-called “La Hulpe” summit, as announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

On the economic front, the Belgian Presidency will follow closely the achievements of the Spanish Presidency on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to ensure that the EU budget and its instruments continue to serve the interests of our Union. To respond to the increasing pressure on Europe’s competitiveness, the Presidency will focus on creating a level playing field for businesses, especially SMEs. It will also promote a “comprehensive and sustainable vision for the EU’s internal market and industrial policy”.

The Belgian Presidency will also step up efforts in many other areas. In the field of transport, the Presidency aims to strengthen intra-European connectivity and to achieve a resilient and forward-looking European transport network. Recognising that the EU must “lead the way in creating a sustainable, innovative and resilient digital ecosystem that empowers citizens and benefits businesses”, the Presidency aims to strengthen Europe’s resilience to cyber security threats and promote open strategic autonomy.

In the field of environmental and energy efficiency policies, Belgium will focus on concluding essential legislative files (e.g. Soil Monitoring Law) to enable the swift implementation of the objectives of the European Green Deal. It will also “strive to enhance the Union’s circular economy” and to “promote sustainable water management”. Moreover, it will facilitate the debate on the EU climate target for 2040 and “discussions about the critical role of nature, ecosystems, and nature-based solutions, including those in urban areas, in delivering benefits for climate adaptation”.

Watch this video presenting the key priorities of the Belgian Presidency to the EU.


FIEC’s statement on agreed Nature Restoration Law


On 8 January, FIEC published a statement on the provisional agreement on the Nature Restoration Law. FIEC welcomes the agreement on the world’s first law for the conservation and restoration of nature and biodiversity as it is a balanced agreement that reconciles ambitious restoration goals with economic activities, such as new housing construction, which is particularly important given the current shortage of housing and building land in many Member States.

In order to avoid unintended consequences of the restoration measures, the agreement stipulates that the Member States should also take into account the foreseeable socio-economic impacts of the implementation of the restoration measures, as well as critical raw material projects and different regional and local characteristics, including population density.

FIEC is pleased that most of its requests and recommendations have been taken into account by the EU legislator.

“Belgium and the Netherlands are more densely populated than Sweden, Spain or Romania. Paris, Rome or Prague have different starting points for urban green spaces than Copenhagen or Berlin. That is why the agreement is a good agreement”, says Stephanos Pierides, Chairman of FIEC’s sub-commission on environmental affairs.

FIEC now expects a prompt approval of the final agreement by MEPs and the Member States.



Payments disbursed under the Recovery and Resilience Facility

On 28 December 2023, the European Commission disbursed payments to six EU Member States under the the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), a temporary instrument which is part of NextGenerationEU. The six recepients are Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Member States use the Facility to support the implementation of infrastructure projects, such as the development of high-speed railways.


Spanish version is online! FIEC Manifesto for Action EU term 2024-2029

The Spanish version of the FIEC Manifesto for Action – EU term 2024-2029 is now available online.

Entitled “Building a resilient and sustainable Europe together” (ES: “Construir juntos una Europa resiliente y sostenible“), the Manifesto is proposing our roadmap for action in view of the European Elections – that will take place in June 2024 – and our 10 key messages to the candidates are set out to deliver FIEC’s vision for the future of construction in Europe

We invite EU policymakers to join us on this journey, to collaborate in shaping a future where the construction industry leads the way towards sustainable development.

An e-leaflet in English (Manifesto ‘in brief’) is also available on the site to introduce the reader to this new publication.

Discover what matters for the sector over the next 5 years!


Welcome to the first 2024 issue
of FIEC Newsletter!