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Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal: industry leaders call for 10 urgent actions to restore competitiveness and keep good jobs in Europe

February 25, 2024
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Today 73 industry leaders spanning almost 20 industrial sectors presented ‘The Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal’ to Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo and Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. The declaration underlines the commitment of industry to Europe and its transformation and outlines urgent industry needs to make Europe competitive, resilient, and sustainable in the face of dire economic conditions.

During a European Industry Summit held on the site of BASF in Antwerp, leaders from basic industry sectors, representing 7.8 million workers in Europe, joined forces with European trade unions and European leaders to address pressing concerns regarding Europe’s industrial landscape. The ‘Antwerp Declaration’, supported by a wide range of sectors, emphasises the critical importance of clarity, predictability, and confidence in Europe’s industrial policy.

“Basic industries in Europe are grappling with historical challenges: demand is declining, investments in the continent are stalling, production has dropped significantly, and sites are threatened. We want to drive the transformation of our companies. For this, we urgently need decisive action to create the conditions for a stronger business case in Europe. ‘The Antwerp Declaration’ outlines a pathway ahead. By placing the European Industrial Deal at the forefront of Europe’s strategic agenda, the EU would pave the way for a resilient, competitive, and sustainable Europe. This is the only way to show the rest of the world that the Green Deal works for all.”

Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President.

To overcome the challenges, the declaration outlines 10 concrete actions, including integrating the EU Industrial Deal into the broader European Strategic Agenda, streamlining legislation, and simplifying the State Aid framework. It calls to transform Europe into a global leader in providing abundant and affordable low-carbon energy through strategic partnerships and robust infrastructure, besides a stronger support for EU projects. It emphasises the need to ensure raw material self-sufficiency, foster demand for sustainable products, and nurture innovation. Europe’s Single Market is also highlighted as an asset to be leveraged and revived, along with establishing a new spirit of law-making that incentivises investment and a cohesive internal structure for effective policy implementation.

Signatories of the Declaration include representatives from diverse sectors ranging from chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper, steel, mining, aluminium, glass, zinc, metals, textiles, refineries, cement, lime, fertilisers, ceramics, industrial gases and biotech.

‘The Antwerp Declaration’ is an urgent call to revitalise Europe’s industrial landscape, strengthening basic industry sectors, ensuring their competitiveness, sustainability, and resilience amid shifting geopolitics. And it underlines industry’s willingness to contribute to a stronger Europe. Only with a strong industrial fabric and a strengthened social dialogue in Europe can we ensure that the green transition is a just transition. The Declaration signifies a collaborative effort to tackle challenges and lays the groundwork for a reboot of industrial investment in Europe, marking the onset of the implementation of the European Green Deal.

Source: cefic.org

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