We fully agree with you that new thinking is needed. We cannot go on with business as usual.
Thank you for your words today on how successful Europe’s engineering industry is in a globalised world. Indeed, our industry which employs over 10 million people in Europe is a world leader. Why? Because our companies are dynamic and focused: they thrive on innovation developed with capable staff who invest their knowledge into developing the new products which give their companies their fine competitive edge. This is the fruit of hard work and in the past has been much helped by a supportive framework – the internal market – which allowed our companies to grow in Europe.
The British Olympians had 17 days of sporting triumph at the recent London 2012 game; however that triumph was a decade in the making. Success was instilled through foresight and through hard work together across the board to make the Olympics a success for each and every athlete.
We should be approaching the European economy in the same light: we need to have a policy framework which again makes Europe a place which attracts investment and thereby creates jobs, not, as we have been seeing in the last years, a string of disjointed policies which just add to the complexity, the uncertainty and the cost of “made in Europe”. And it is the Commission which can and should be the driver behind this framework.
So, please go beyond the rhetoric and get down to having the Commission as a whole work together to remove the barriers that are currently deterring companies from investing in Europe and stopping them what has been at the root of their global success and Europe’s economic development – making in Europe products and technologies which our customers need and want both in Europe & worldwide.
We agree with you Mr. Barroso that not everything can be a priority at the same time: surely today, getting people back to work must be the priority for Europe. And our industry has proven that we do deliver jobs and growth under the right conditions. The opportunity is there: the Commission’s industrial policy review must change the course of policy and steer the European ship as a whole in the right direction. It must seek to deliver for Europe’s manufacturing base.
What do we need fundamentally? An attractive investment framework in the EU: staff with the skills our companies need, better access to finance both on the capital markets and with banks, input costs which are globally competitive, modern infrastructures, an internal market which is fully operational, better trading conditions and also regulatory and policy stability and predictability.
In his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Barroso asked if Europe was really capable of achieving growth and creating jobs. As an industry we know that our companies can make it and we believe we can do it in Europe, but not with the policies and regulation that Europe is delivering today. Let’s hope that in 2013, the final year of this Commission we will have seen some real change for the better.