European vision on manufacturing needed

During the General Assembly that took place in Ghent on 12 June 2012, CECIMO’s Economic Committee asserted a few important facts (See below) and claimed for a European vision for the manufacturing industry.

  • The output of the European machine tool industry increased in 2011 by 26% against 2010 to nearly 21 bn Euros; stabilisation of production is forecasted for 2012
  • Whereas CECIMO exports reach almost the 2008 level, domestic demand remains weak in Europe
  • Difficulties in accessing to finance are severely hampering business and investments in many European countries, despite a real demand from customers

The production of almost 21 bn Euros in 2011 is approximately 15% lower than in the record year of 2008. At the same time, CECIMO exports at 16.5 bn Euros in 2011 reached almost its all-time high previously observed in 2008. Imports and apparent consumption, which reflect the sentiment in the European market, was far below their 2008 values, despite strong increases in 2011 compared to 2010. Imports grew by 37% to 7.9 bn Euros while the apparent consumption increased by 29% to 12.2 bn Euros, which is far below the 2008 levels.

Know-how first
European machine tool builders sell their products to almost all the countries in the world. “The machine tool industry is not a project that can be created overnight and be run without employees. Europe has been developing its machinery base for many generations and now this high value-added industry with its knowledge-intensive skilled workforce is a backbone of modern European economy”, comments Martin Kapp, CECIMO President. He adds: “Our overseas competitors recognize very well the advantage of having an industry which is at the core of the next industrial revolution and are pursuing proactive policies in order to reinforce their position or quickly acquire the necessary know-how”.

Europe clearly lacks a strategy for its manufacturing industries
Against the backdrop of the proactive policies being implemented in other parts of the world, Europe is witnessing a deterioration of its industrial base, which implies increasing unemployment and a risk of becoming dependent in many aspects on third countries. The deindustrialisation of Europe coupled with rising protectionism in rapidly industrialising countries pose serious risks for Europe as regards to the security of supply in strategic areas. “Europe urgently needs a clear vision supported by targeted policies for its manufacturing industries. The current approach based on fragmented and selective actions proved to be both costly and inefficient. Action is needed, before it is too late and before we lose our capacity to invent high-tech products which are necessary to rebuild the future European economy”, stresses Mr Martin Kapp.

Time to react
The austerity crisis in the Eurozone adds to the severity of the situation both in Europe and worldwide. The half-measures dictated by the political agendas have been only postponing the real solution of the problems. As a result, the access to money has dried up and is currently seriously hampering business and investments in many European countries, despite a real demand from customers. “We strongly urge the politicians to take decisive steps and ultimately solve the problems which have their roots back in the crisis of 2008 and 2009”, Martin Kapp said.

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