On 3 December 2014 MEP Paul Rübig and MEP Elisabetta Gardini co-hosted the 15th European Parliament Ceramics Forum (EPCF) in the EP, followed by a cocktail reception with a keynote speech by Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry. Held in the context of the 2014 Ceramic Days, the discussions demonstrated that the ceramics industry, a manufacturing and SME-driven sector, plays a key role in delivering much needed growth and jobs for the EU.
The EPCF Plenary session featured panel debates with speakers from the European Parliament, European Commission and industry. EPCF Chair MEP Paul Rübig stressed the importance of the annual Forum stating that “I am proud to be part of a platform that has enabled a constructive dialogue between industry experts and EU policy makers for more than 15 years. Dialogue is essential when working to reinforce growth and jobs in Europe.”
Three panels explored topics that impact the ceramic industry and are currently being discussed at EU level: the circular economy, the international competitiveness of SMEs and the future of the EU Emissions Trading System.
In his contribution to the first panel, Dr Heimo Scheuch, Cerame-Unie Vice-President and CEO of Wienerberger AG, expressed that “with respect to sustainable construction, the entire life cycle of a clay construction product must be considered when discussing resource efficiency.”
MEP Anthea McIntyre, EPCF Vice-Chair, opened the panel on trade emphasising that EU policies should focus on “facilitating trade and removing trade barriers, as exports play an essential role for the competitiveness of ceramic companies – particularly for SMEs.”
On climate and energy, MEP Antonio Tajani, EP VP and EPCF Vice-Chair, commented that “it is possible to celebrate a marriage between industrial policy and climate and energy policies. This is essential to avoid carbon leakage.”
Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry, gave the keynote speech at the cocktail reception. He noted that “as Europe continues to fight its way out of the financial crisis, promoting industrial competitiveness is of the utmost importance. Manufacturing sectors like ceramics have been and will continue to be a vital part of the European economy and the creation of jobs.”
For more information about the EPCF, visit www.epceramicsforum.eu. The 16th EPCF Plenary will take place in Brussels on 1 December 2015.