De-industrialisation may wipe out Europe’s innovation capacity

The European Association of the Machine Tool industries, CECIMO, launched its ‘Study on the Competitiveness of the European Machine Tool Industry’ with a roundtable meeting at the European Parliament on 21 March, which brought together industry and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Prepared by a voluntary group of industrialists coordinated by CECIMO, the study provides a comprehensive snapshot of the European machine tool industry in the post-crisis era.

Michael Hauser, Vice-President of Cecimo and CEO of Tornos.

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The event was titled: “Made in Europe? Challenges facing the EU’s machine tool industry”. The findings of the CECIMO study reveal that the share of European machine tool production has been in decline over the last decade, owing mainly to the shift of markets to Asia. “Driven by the rise of China, Asia has become truly ‘the factory of the world’ over the past decade. Today, Asia consumes more 66% of the world’s machine tool production and China alone absorbs 50% of this. The share of European consumption in world consumption has dropped from 40% to one fifth over the last decade, the share which was obviously lost to Asia” explained Michael Hauser, Vice-President of CECIMO, CEO of Tornos S.A. to MEPs present in the meeting.

“Mission impossible”
Machine tools are the basic building blocks of the industrialisation of a country. Emerging countries increasingly invest in production systems provided largely by the European machine tool industry to build up their manufacturing base. “This is good news for our companies as their exports to China and Asia are booming. However, the bad news is that our customers relocate outside Europe and we are forced to follow them to other markets. Expanding to Asian markets is almost ‘a mission impossible’ for an SME employing a hundred people”, the CECIMO Vice-President stated.

You can download the whole report here.