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Support for European Industrial Deal builds up steam

‘Actionable measures’ include streamlining legislation and fostering raw material self-sufficiency


Pete Carvill

The number of companies and industry associations around the continent to have signed the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal has passed 600.

According to the European Panel Federation (EPF), itself a signee of the declaration, a key highlight is to reindustrialise Europe, positioning the continent as a global leader in sustainable and innovative industry. It has reportedly attracted more than 600 signatories from some 20 business sectors.

EPF chairman Martin Brettenthaler said: “Embracing the Antwerp Declaration, we advocate for placing the European Industrial Deal at the forefront of Europe’s agenda, aligning with EPF’s objectives and strategic directions. By prioritising reindustrialisation, especially with natural, innovative sustainable products such as wood-based panels, we can play a vital role in delivering the European Green Deal.”

The official declaration referred to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently enacted in the US by president Joe Biden, noting: “A US economy that benefits from the financial support from the Inflation Reduction Act and its ease of accessibility, a Chinese overcapacity, and increasing exports to Europe all increase the pressure for the European industry even more. Our companies face this challenge every day. Sites are being closed, production halted, people let go. Europe needs a business case, urgently.”

Elsewhere, it outlines 10 “actionable measures”, including a streamlining of legislation, and calls for initiatives to position Europe as a global leader in boosting demand for net zero, low carbon and circular products, fostering raw material self-sufficiency, and making the innovation framework smarter.

Climate solutions

The Antwerp Declaration argues: “We need to keep industry in Europe because the industry will deliver the climate solutions Europe needs – solutions that citizens and governments can use, but that can only be invented and implemented with speed and scale by the industry, and the support from governments.”

It adds: “Only with a strong industrial fabric and strengthened social dialogue in Europe can we ensure that the green transition will be a just transition, as agreed in the Val Duchesse tripartite declaration.” The Antwerp Declaration was launched last month with just over 70 signatures, attracting much attention and further signatories in recent weeks.