EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This article about manufacturing was published by EurActiv on 4th February 2010.

Manufacturing industries are returning to the heart of the debate on how to put Europe back on a sustainable growth path, as business leaders warn against an over-reliance on the services sector.

Forecasts of 1% growth will not be enough to boost employment and maintain Europe’s social model, according to BusinessEurope, a lobby group. The difference between growth of 1% and 2% is 6.5 million new jobs and a public debt consolidation effort of €450 billion – or 7% of GDP – by 2014.

In light of such a stark prognosis, Jürgen Thumann, president of BusinessEurope, said an integrated industrial policy designed to develop manufacturing and services industries is urgently needed.

He cautioned against ignoring heavy industry, noting that white-collar professional services are dependent on the manufacturing sector.

“Many of the services would be lost without a strong industrial base,” he said yesterday (4 February) ahead of separate meetings with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek.

Thumann said he would press EU leaders to develop digital industries, complete the single market and support the efforts of European companies to expand overseas.

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