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Enough and now: Investing for sustainable growth and employment!

Date 09/06/2015
(from left to right:)
Tore Nilsson (S), Svetoslav Glossov (BG), Georgios Romosios (GR), Costas Roushas (CY), Johan Willemen (FIEC), Maxime Verhagen (NL), Jean-Claude Juncker, Jacques Chanut (F-FFB), Ulrich Paetzold (FIEC-DG), Ricardo Gomes (P), Colette Golinvaux (B), Robert de Mûelenaere (B-DG), Lars M. Carlsen (DK), Hans-Hartwig Loewenstein (D-ZDB)

« If we want to set the basis for a long term sustainable growth of the economy and of employment in the EU then it is time to move from "blind” to "smart” austerity » declared Johan Willemen, FIEC President, to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, during the opening of the FIEC Congress 2015, « What everybody needs, is "enough and now" and not "too little, too late"! »

The annual Congress of FIEC, which took place on 4-5th June in Brussels, gathered contractors from all over the EU and focused on the main drivers for stronger competitiveness of the construction industry, which, in 2014 represented almost 9% of the EU28 GDP, in the light of the "Juncker Plan” for investment, growth and jobs.

« The construction industry welcomes the "Juncker Plan” and we intend to play our role in the development of "good” projects. But in order to be successful we also need a new mindset for a real collaborative approach between our companies and the public sector, at all levels, as well as with the financial sector» added Johan Willemen.

« It must also be ensured that SMEs, which constitute the largest share of our companies, can also fully benefit from the Plan» concluded Johan Willemen.

During the discussions the following main messages were highlighted:

  • The Juncker Plan should not be all about building new infrastructure, but also about maintenance and upgrading of existing infrastructure. The cost of investment will not be lower, if we postpone necessary renovation or rebuilding work to tomorrow.

  • A balance between resource efficiency and the competitiveness of the construction industry must be found. Measures that are too ambitious and maybe even unnecessary will prove to be counter-productive and will damage competitiveness in the long term.

  • A level playing field must be ensured, in order to allow genuine competition between contractors, rather than between social security and taxation systems. There is therefore a need for strengthening the fight against all forms of fraud and in particular social fraud and undeclared work.

The European construction industry stands ready to accept these challenges and to take an active role in the implementation of the "Juncker Plan”, based on the know-how and experience of all its stakeholders.

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