On the 24th of September 2014, MEP Paul Rübig hosted a dinner debate in cooperation with SME Europe and EUROMINES on “Sustainable Industrial Renaissance” at the European Parliament.
In the introduction, Mr. Rübig pointed out that the European Union is still the most important and biggest market in the world. The EU currently still holds 25% of the worldwide production and also about 50% of the social contribution being made in the European internal market. In times of economic and international instability, it is important to have a credible commitment to economic policies. Mr. Rübig drew the attention to energy independence which is, as he described, one of the most important things for a successful and prosper future of the European Union. Furthermore, Mr. Rübig stated that raw materials approximately worth 200 billion Euros are imported to Europe. He underlined that a directive on Europe 2050 would be a possibility to make sure that areas for mining, industry and infrastructure have a secure space to develop.
Followed by the address of Mr. Rübig, the President of Euromines, Mr. Mark Rachovides stated that mining is essential for creating new jobs, investment, growth, and with that, economic prosperity. To achieve these demands, the mining industry is in need of stability and clarity. The political establishment has to enable stable long-term policies and a stable energy market. Therefore, a fruitful environment for scientific progress should be guaranteed as well as a policy that supports the needs of the mining industry. Mr. Rachovides pointed out that the well-being of the mining industry helps to create prosperity for Europe in general.
The next speech was held by Mr. Gwenole Cozigou, Director for Chemicals, Metals, Mechanical, Electrical and Construction Industries, Raw Materials, in the European Commission Enterprise and Industry DG. In general, he emphasized the role of Europe’s high quality production. He mentioned that the only practicable solution is to concentrate on the resource in order to be competitive. He said that the European Union has to stand an urgent challenge. “It is all about the three Keywords: Simplicity, stability and efficiency.” Europe has to be, while shrinking in production, more competitive for the future markets – especially for the Asian markets. He claimed that throughout the past, a part of the European steel production moved away and settled to China. Furthermore, he accentuated once more the need and demand of a stable, common European policy to preserve the domestic production. His secondary lookout aimed about the high level, fundamental knowledge of European science. “Resources are a cost that nobody wants to waste.” It would be an intrinsic failure to think that even one nation could supply its raw material demands by the domestic markets. So as to guarantee Europe’s competiveness on all production markets. We have to invest more in the skills of the next generations.
After the first statements discussions and exchange of points of views happened on the tables representing different European Regions ensued with MEP Franc Bogovic, MEP Adam Gierek, MEP Jusi Halla-Aho, MEP Costas Mavrides, MEP Bogdan Wenta, MEP Olle Ludvigsson and MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis.
Ivana Maletić MEP emphasized that implementation is stacked and that it is essential to find a solution, how to change the environment of mining. Mr. Hristov, from Dundee Precious Metals was convinced that Mining is actually unavoidable. He proposed that existing policies should be corrected.
On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, SME Europe hosted the Working Lunch: “Emerging conflicts between Extended Producer Responsibility and European competition policy” in the Salon des Membres of the European Parliament.
Dr. Paul Rübig MEP, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Honorary President of SME Europe, opened the discussion and introduced the speakers and the subject of the Working Lunch with further questions. He questioned how Europe and the Member States will handle energy and waste in the future and how they could be even more effective in environmental areas and in recycling. The European People Party (EPP) will follow a strong line to achieve more efficiency in the future.
Dr. Paul RÜBIG MEP, honorary President of SME Europe and Member of the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy welcomed all participants by indicating the significance of a lively discussion about the current situation and the importance of informing people about the options. He stated that “we now have the chance to create a new situation, which should be a win-win solution for all of us.”
David O’SULLIVAN, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service was the first keynote speaker. He emphasised that “Switzerland is a hugely important partner for the EU”, including economic, cultural and family ties. Nevertheless, the referendum on February 9th 2014, in which 50.3 percent of Swiss voters supported the introduction of quantitative limits to immigration, has “potentially far reaching consequences”. The vote requires the Swiss government to unravel the present agreement, and to request its adjustment from the EU in order to be in consistence with the new article introduced into the Swiss constitution through the referendum. O’Sullivan pointed out, that “this is not going to be an easy conversation to manage”, in particular as long as Switzerland fails to extend the freedom of movement to Croatian citizens. As long as this problem is not solved through the signature of the relevant protocol, the EU suspends negotiations on Swiss full participation in the research programme Horizon 2020 and the exchange programme Erasmus+. Finally, he highlighted that we should not forget that close relations with Switzerland are beneficial to both Switzerland and the EU, and that it is therefore in mutual interest to find a solution to the challenge created by the vote.
Mr. Klaus KEHREIN from the German permanent representation, Head of Division for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, gave an introduction to the topic. Firstly he wanted to mention that Germany, as an exporting economy is highly in favor of Free Trade, while he also wanted to highlight the risks. Firstly, he is concerned that the high level of consumer protection in Europe will not be the same after the agreement. His other concerns are for the quality of the goods. While the use of hormones is accepted in the USA, in Europe, for reasons of uncertainty for health, it is forbidden. Also the meat from cloned animals is not accepted in Europe, due to animal protection and ethical reasons. Last but not least he mentioned the use of chlorine to sanitize chickens. He thinks that chemicals should not make up missing hygiene. These topics should be addressed before we can enter an agreement. (read more…)
Dr. Paul RÜBIG MEP, EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, moderated the event and welcomed the guests with a reminder that the EU wants an industry participation in the GDP of 20% by 2020. He also pleaded for a Europe which is more attractive for investments and proclaimed that the future of Europe is highly dependent on the wellbeing of SMEs.
The keynote speaker Dave ELLIOTT, president of the European Committee for Surface Treatment (CETS) opened his speech with an explanatory note on surface engineering, emphasizing the new products made possible by it. He commented that current issues like energy efficiency and photovoltaic cells could be facilitated and improved through surface engineering techniques; therefore the success of a sustainable manufacturing future also relies on surface engineering being used accordingly. At the end Mr. ELLIOTT warned that sustainable component manufacturing is impossible without surface engineering and highlighted that one cannot work without the other. He wished for more certainty from the European Commission on how regulations will change over the following years and for a quick action to the current situation, otherwise there might be great damage on the European economy. (read more…)