European leaders of the pulp and paper industry launched its manifesto for competitiveness and employment during a meeting with the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Günther Verheugen, in Brussels.
The group sounded a stark warning that unless solutions are found quickly to respond to the economic crisis and that a more rational policy making approach is introduced the competitive transformation of their industry, and indeed all European industry, will be not be sustained.
Following the meeting with Commissioner Verheugen, Magnus Hall, CEO of Holmen and Chairman of the CEPI said: “The European Union cannot afford to let the pulp and paper sector and its related value chain slide into crisis. We must work together with the European Commission to identify the causes of the current problems, ensure that nothing is done to make a bad situation worse and build solutions together that deal with the real issues.”
CEPI presented a list of the key areas where the industry urges the European Commission to act, which includes:-
- Ensuring a better balance in policymaking between advocates of environmental, competitiveness and employment interests.
- Allowing Europe to compete with lower energy cost competitors
- Creating winners not victims in the EU Emissions Trading System
- Boosting the availability of raw materials and market access
- Applying flexibility to competition rules to facilitate restructuring
- Fighting protectionism in competing countries
- Turning innovation into a reality
More than ever, Europe needs to reconcile competitiveness and sustainability for its industry to thrive in a global market. For the European pulp and paper industry competitiveness is economics. Meeting this challenge depends largely on policy makers.