‘Strategic plan Europe needed for the survival of European manufacturing industry’

‘Strategic plan Europe needed for the survival of European manufacturing industry’
‘Strategic plan Europe needed for the survival of European manufacturing industry’

There is an urgent need for a strategic plan from Europe that outlines the contours of the future manufacturing industry. Otherwise, the competitive position of our continent and that of Europe will deteriorate sharply. This was stated by CEOs of four major Belgian manufacturing companies during a debate at the D2M fair in Kortrijk this week.

High energy prices were an important topic in a debate at the D2M technology trade fair (the Belgian equivalent of TechniShow), which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday in the Kortrijk Xpo. In the Captains of Industry debate on Wednesday, participants included Volker Germann, CEO of Audi Brussels, and Marc Marc Meurisse, director of the Engicon, a metal construction company for industrial projects for storage, transhipment and processing of liquids and gases in the petrochemical industry. with international presence.

‘We used to be asked for oil refinery projects in the United States, but that has recently come to an end. We are not competitive due to the high energy prices’, says Meurisse, who also mentions the shortage in the labor market. According to him, there is a need for a European, strategic plan for the manufacturing industry. ‘Otherwise we will be the museum of the world in a few years’ time.’

The Engicon CEO cites the example of China and Saudi Arabia, where a clear plan has been drawn up for the coming decades. ‘As a result, the manufacturing industry is developing at lightning speed. The Saudis understand that their oil supply will eventually come to an end and are currently fully committed to developing renewable energy.’ According to him, Europe is confronted with the limitations of democracy. ‘Plans are being made here that will be overhauled in the next legislature, four years later.’

Transnational political plan

According to Meurisse, the plan should transcend politics, who points out the importance of the manufacturing industry as an employer. ‘Decades ago, Europe chose to focus on a service economy. As a result, the manufacturing industry has been neglected.’ A lot of industry has already moved away from Europe as a result. He points to the European refineries. ‘Twenty years ago Europe had an estimated 120 refineries, now that number is only half. Due to the high wage and energy costs, these go to countries where it is cheaper.’

Volker Germann, CEO of Audi in Brussels, where the Audi e-Tron is made, also states that there is an urgent need for a European plan that transcends countries and that actually promotes cooperation between countries and clusters. ‘At the moment, electricity costs in Spain, for example, are twice as high as here. In this way it is difficult to maintain our competitive position.’

Belgians in Germany paid better

Bruno Radermacher, general manager of Jumo, supplier of industrial sensor technology, is also greatly hindered by European differences. His company is located in a German-speaking area in Belgium, a stone’s throw from the Dutch and German borders. ‘The difference between gross and net wages is huge between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Because people in Germany have more left over, a quarter of the working population from the East Cantons will work in Germany’, he says.

The CEOs of these major European manufacturing companies shared their concerns during a debate at the D2M technology trade fair, the former Prototyping-MNE. The fair, where manufacturing technology and engineering come together, celebrated its first day in Kortrijk yesterday. Today is the second day of a debate and discusses the competitive advantages of automation and digitization.

Dutch people on Belgian stock exchange

A number of Dutch exhibitors and visitors were also present at the fair. For example, Patrick Vaesen was present at the stand of Bender Belgium, the sister company of Bendertechniek from Veenendaal that focuses on machining machines for the metal and plastic processing industry. The co-owner of Bender Belgium indicates that the Belgian market is currently running a little less than the Dutch market. ‘Things went well until the summer, but since then you have noticed that companies are still uncertain and put investments on hold.’

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Strategic plan Europe needed survival European manufacturing industry

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