European Parliament Ceramics Forum
Report - EPCF Meeting of 26 November 2013 The annual plenary meeting of the European Parliament Ceramics Forum (EPCF), co-chaired by MEPs Malcolm Harbour and Michael Cashman, welcomed 120 participants. The agenda featured a wide range of topics of high relevance to both the ceramic industry and the European institutions. Debates were held with many prestigious speakers among which several MEPs, representatives from the Commission (DG Energy, DG Climate Action, DG Enterprise & Industry) and industry stakeholders. The event was concluded with a EPCF cocktail and keynote speeches by Commissioner for Energy G端nther Oettinger and BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Mr Markus Beyrer. This report gives an overview of the key messages and discussions regarding the future EU climate and energy policy, the Product Safety and Market Surveillance package (including origin marking) as well as the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Please find further information on the European Parliament Ceramics Forum and how MEPs can become official members at www.epceramicsforum.eu. MEP Malcolm Harbour & MEP Michael Cashman
Report - European Parliament Ceramics Forum 26 November 2013
Climate change and energy Reconciling sustainability and competitiveness in the future EU climate and energy policy
Mr Hans Bergman
MEP Chris Davies
The first panel dealt with the upcoming 2030 EU climate and energy framework and the implications for the ceramic industry.
MEP Chris Davies emphasised that apart from the 2020 agreement, industries have not yet received any long-term signals from the Commission, which is crucial for long-term investment decisions. The ceramic industry would require technology breakthroughs in order to reach the required CO2 reductions of 80 to 85% by 2050. On the other hand, MEP Davies underlined the fact that the EUâ€™s share in global emissions is getting increasingly smaller, undermining the EU emission reduction goals.
Mr Hans Bergman, Ms Mechthild WĂśrsdĂśrfer and Ms Marzena Rogalska, from DG Climate Action, DG Energy and DG Enterprise & Industry respectively, all referred to the 2030 EU climate and energy framework, which will be presented in January 2014 together with an industrial policy package. The framework, jointly drafted by DG Climate Action and DG Energy, is more comprehensive and attempts to find a balance between competiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply. An important point in the new framework will be the shape ETS takes post 2020. Overall the framework should also provide a solution for energy-intensive SMEs. In line with the Commission's 2050 Roadmaps, energy efficiency, a higher share of renewables in the energy mix and new infrastructure are "no regrets" options for the EU.
Ms Mechtild Wörsdörfer Ms Marzena Rogalska Dr Heimo Scheuch
Ms Mechthild Wörsdörfer explained that the Commission is working on a report on energy prices and costs in the EU, which will feature in-depth analysis of the development of energy prices in recent years and their impact on the EU's competitiveness. This report will be published alongside proposals for the 2030 framework. The initial analysis showed that rising energy prices over the last five years had been driven by sharp increases in taxes and levies but that in general the largest part of electricity and gas bills remained the energy and supply component – although this varies between member states. Ms Marzena Rogalska questioned how long higher energy efficiency in Europe can be maintained and used to cushion the price difference with other countries. Finally she underlined that energy-intensive industries’ share in employment reaches 15-20% and their contribution to research and development is significant.
Dr Heimo Scheuch, Vice-President of European Ceramic Industry Association Cerame-Unie and CEO of Wienerberger, recalled that industries create local value, pay local taxes and first and foremost create jobs in Europe. Moreover Dr Scheuch highlighted that the investment cycle of the ceramic industry is 30 to 40 years, consequently reliability and stability are necessary for investment decisions. Access to finance is another problem particularly in times of crisis and further emission reduction requirements would be very difficult to achieve due to both economic and technical reasons. According to Dr Scheuch, Europe is facing not only carbon leakage but also investment leakage, which will eventually lead to employment leakage. It is important to keep the ceramic industry’s many hidden champions located in Europe. Therefore, after witnessing certain ceramic industries in several countries having cut production capacity by up to 60% in recent years, Dr Scheuch is convinced that a strong industrial policy for Europe is needed now more than ever.
Product safety and market surveillance Product safety and market surveillance proposal: benefits for industry and consumers
Mr Hans Ingels
MEP Raffaele Baldassarre
Mr Massimo Baldinato
The second panel presented an opportunity for participants to discuss the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package and the way forward on critical aspects such as origin marking.
Mr Massimo Baldinato, Member of the Cabinet of Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, highlighted that Article 7 on Origin marking provides transparency and information for the consumer and protects fair producers. Origin marking would enable industries which produce and create jobs in Europe to have their own products recognised.
MEP Raffaele Baldassarre added that consumers are entitled to know what they buy and where the product originates from, especially since there are many dangerous products on the market. High quality products should not be mixed up with others simply because origin marking is not used. Origin marking would also allow for better product traceability.
For Mr Hans Ingels from DG Enterprise and Industry, Article 7 is a fair and honest provision and the two proposals â€“ product safety and market surveillance â€“ together represent extremely powerful tools to create a better internal market, which would be of benefit to all. Mr Ingels reiterated the need for sufficient enforcement of the whole legislative package for it to be functional and successful. He expressed his surprise at the opposition by certain industries that are already applying origin marking. In fact, the origin marking on products often does not correspond to the country where the product is actually manufactured, evidencing a lack of rules. 4
Mr José Luis Lanuza
Mr José Luis Lanuza, Director General of Grupo Keraben and incoming President of the European Ceramic Tiles Federation (CET), reiterated that it is essential that construction products be covered by chapter 1 of the product safety proposal, including origin marking. However, he stressed his concerns with the proposed ‘EU Safety Tested’ marking adopted by the IMCO Committee on 17 October, which resembles the CE marking norm yet represents a duplication of the existing standards combined with additional and costly third party testing. Mr Lanuza underlined great differences regarding product safety in various countries and is thus strongly in favour of a harmonised origin marking scheme for consumer products. According to Mr Lanuza, consumers are vulnerable and have the right to know where a product has been made. EPCF Chair MEP Michael Cashman noted that while the debate is ongoing on various aspects of the proposal, negotiations for the scheme are currently being held up in the Council, where all 28 EU Member States need to agree on the mandate before moving forward.
Small and medium-sized enterprises Enhancing SMEs’ competitiveness in the ceramic sector
Ms Mireille Busson
MEP Phil Bennion
MEP Jürgen Creutzmann
The third panel, which took place in the context of the SME week, provided an occasion to examine the situation for SMEs in Europe.
MEP Jürgen Creutzmann presented COSME, the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, as a positive contribution to tackling the challenges SMEs face. This programme will run from 2014 to 2020, has a planned budget of €2.3 billion and will offer support regarding access to finance and markets, as well as reducing bureaucracy for SMEs. The already existing Enterprise Europe Network will also be funded under COSME. MEP Creutzmann also expressed his strong support for the SME-Test, under which the Commission looks at new regulations in detail to determine how they might burden SMEs. MEP Phil Bennion underlined that SMEs are affected by high production costs and rising energy costs, which can be absorbed by bigger companies but often endanger SMEs. MEP Bennion also referred to ‘green taxes’, which lead to rising energy costs in the UK and make companies more prone to moving their production out of the UK and Europe. Decarbonisation strategies should not be abandoned but should be revised in a way that does not endanger the competitiveness of EU and UK industry. Ms Mireille Busson, DG Enterprise and Industry, stated that the SME policy is at the heart of the Commission policy for 2020. She mentioned the 2008 Small Business Act for Europe, which established 10 principles, among which the Think Small First principle. She highlighted that the 2011 revision of the SBA focused on three priorities: access to finance, access to markets and simplification of legislation. She referenced the Enterprise Europe network, which provides advisors and represents SMEs, and stressed the important role that local 6
Mr Neale Parkin
chambers of commerce as well as other organisations that are members of Enterprise Europe Network play in helping SMEs gain access to markets. Finally she presented the European funds that will be available for SMEs in 2014-2020, namely COSME (access to finance, competitiveness), Horizon 2020 (research and innovation) and structural funds. Mr Neale Parkin spoke in the name of the European ceramic industry, 80% of which is composed of SMEs. He emphasised that these had particular difficulties getting access to finance in recent years. Access to markets, costly research or innovation, as well as high taxes and complex legislation are additional burdens and challenges for SMEs. Participating in a Commission consultation can be challenging for SMEs since they often do not have sufficient skilled and knowledgeable personnel, although they do wish to be consulted. However, Mr Parkin welcomed the COSME programme as well as the SME instruments in the Horizon 2020 but asked that SMEs’ participation in European Technology Platforms be promoted. Another positive change Mr Parkin touched on is the simplified questionnaire on anti-dumping for SMEs. Finally, among other issues he mentioned that language can sometimes limit SMEs’ participation in the public debate and their understanding of official documents such as guidance documents.
EP Ceramics Forum 2014-2019 The future of the European Parliament Ceramics Forum after the EP elections 2014
Mr Renaud Batier
Ms Maria Díaz Pulido
The 14th Plenary meeting of the EPCF was concluded by Cerame-Unie’s Director General, Mr Renaud Batier, and DG Enterprise and Industry’s Ms Maria de las Flores Díaz Pulido. Ms Maria de las Flores Díaz Pulido stressed the importance of the EPCF meetings as a useful instrument to gather the industry and the institutions together to discuss solutions to issues affecting the European ceramic industry. She provided an overview of policy actions to address the concerns of the ceramic industry and stressed DG ENTR’s commitment towards the sector. She highlighted the value that the EPCF may continue to provide in the future, following the 2014 Parliamentary elections. Mr Renaud Batier thanked MEPs Michael Cashman and Malcolm Harbour for their longstanding support as Chairs of the EPCF for the last 15 years. Theirs are big shoes to fill, but Mr Batier looks forward to welcoming newly elected MEPs with an EPCF cocktail in the first week of October 2014. The 15th EPCF Plenary meeting will take place in early December 2014 (date to be confirmed).
EPCF Cocktail with keynote speakers
Following the EPCF Plenary session, Cerame-Unie hosted an EPCF cocktail in the European Parliament. European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger and BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus Beyrer gave memorable keynote speeches on the future of energy in Europe. Commissioner Oettinger addressed the need to create realistic and pragmatic new targets for 2030, taking into consideration the reality faced by energy-intensive industries in Europe. Mr Beyrer asserted the need to find the right balance between energy and climate policy, thereby favouring industrial competitiveness and climate goals on equal footing. Cerame-Unie President Alain Delcourt wrapped up the speeches stressing the vital importance of the EU’s forthcoming decisions on climate and energy for the ceramic industry. Mr Delcourt, Dr Scheuch and Mr Batier concluded the evening by expressing their heartfelt gratitude to MEP Michael Cashman and MEP Malcolm Harbour for Chairing the EPCF for the last 15 years.
Top left: Mr Günther Oettinger (European Commissioner for Energy) Top middle: Mr Markus Beyrer (BUSINESSEUROPE Director General) Top right: Mr Alain Delcourt (Cerame-Unie President) Above (left to right): Dr Scheuch, MEP Cashman, Mr Beyrer, Commissioner Oettinger, Mr Delcourt, MEP Harbour. Middle right: Dr Scheuch thanking MEPs Cashman and Harbour Lower right: Dr Scheuch thanking Commissioner Oettinger
The EPCF Secretariat and the European Ceramic Industry Association Cerame-Unie wish to thank the speakers for their participation, in particular the EPCF co-chairs, MEP Malcolm Harbour and MEP Michael Cashman and their offices.
Cerame-Unie sponsored EPCF cocktail with Commissioner Oettinger and Mr Beyrer