In the last few decades, the European Union has created unity for its member states. We have all enjoyed greater benefits and freedom in our personal lives and for our businesses during this time. People have become used to it and they look at these benefits as a given part of life.
In fact they are not a given, they are the result of hard work in politics and all organisations in our societies. They are the result of the setting of common rules, the opening of markets, of friendship between people and solidarity. Solidarity means accepting giving some of our own assets to others in exchange for even more common advantages, which the European Union creates for all people and players in its own territories as well as in the rest of the world.
In recent years, as people have become used to the advantages of Europe, they have at the same time started to become more and more critical about Europe. Many people tend to forget that creating such advantages requires compromises. It is not possible to give people from European countries with cheaper labour costs the opportunity to work in other countries in order to get better living standards for themselves without also accepting some level of competition from these countries. Of course this has to take place in a fair and balanced manner
With these contradictions, if we want to have peaceful and frictionless development in many respects, we need a lot of effort from organisations like FIEC working with the political institutions, in order to develop suitable rules that allow fair and balanced development for everybody. Within FIEC we are particularly mindful of these principles.
We are all aware that the overall framework at global level, is getting more and more complex and competitive, with increasingly fast changes that are creating additional pressure. Furthermore, the interrelations of our economies and our societies reveal sometimes how fragile our foundations can be and the Covid pandemic is a very clear example of this. One country has left the EU and partners around the world are becoming increasingly selfish. We have to recognise and admit that one country alone cannot survive in this world. All European countries and their businesses need each other to have a prosperous future. Also large unexpected problems, like the Covid crisis, cannot be dealt with by each individual country on its own. The European Union is needed to allow each country to overcome such huge disruption.
The construction industry is one of the largest players in our economy. It employs around 7% of all the workforce and builds the basis of a sustainable and competitive society. Construction plays a key role in increasing our quality of life, in ensuring the success of our economies, as well as our culture and wellbeing, our mobility and for sustainable development in general. One of the main objectives of FIEC is precisely to facilitate all necessary political and economic initiatives to enable the construction industry with all its workforce to play this important role in the best possible manner. We aim to ensure the cooperation required between all parties concerned for the successful management of businesses for their employees, owners and other stakeholders.
FIEC wants to continue to be recognised as a representative, strong and reliable partner at European level for the benefit of all. In order to be able to do so FIEC needs a strong involvement and commitment from all its member federations, as well as dialogue, patience, common goals and mutual trust. Being able to improve our own abilities will be critical for our success.
It is along these lines that I intend to operate during my presidency and I am counting on the support of each one of you.