With the latest figures at hand, the Commission’s Summer 2020 Economic Forecast, the whole EU economy will experience a steep decline of 8.3% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also the 2020 OECD employment outlook describes the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression. In their most optimistic scenario, the OECD-wide unemployment rate may reach 9.4% in the 4th quarter of 2020.
In advance of the June EU Summit, Ceemet made a similar assessment holding that the exceptional economic situation triggered by the pandemic shock underscores calls for a swift and well-targeted action. In the metal, engineering and tech-based industries alone 6 million workers are on short-time work or similar schemes and 1 million out of 17 million directly employed workers are at risk of losing their job .
These forecasts point to surging insolvencies, in particular among SMEs and start-ups. This is yet another reason of major concern also in view of possible takeovers of struggling companies in Europe. Without those companies, there is no industrial basis for a sustainable and innovative relaunch. It is obvious that without the necessary measures, the economic crisis risks turning into a social one, which will be substantial. Hence the need for a swift agreement on the EU budget and #NextGenerationEU recovery plan at the next Council Meeting.
Therefore mentioned analysis cause concerns about the future. However, having and using the means to invest in an industry that is sustainable, digital and innovative holds the potential to put Europe in the leading position in the world, whether politically, socially, ethically or economically.
From a metal, engineering and tech-based industries’ point, Ceemet has developed a number of essential contributions:
- 10 Point Plan for a competitive industry sustaining social Europe that identifies 10 key areas to support the industrial tissue in Europe and
- Recovery plan for a competitive industry in a resilient Europe that outlines 12 recommendations that are crucial for companies and workers to enable growth and safeguarding jobs
Both publications provide a sound overview of where EU industry stands and what needs to be done to maintain its competitiveness also as a precondition to sustain Europe’s unparalleled levels of social spending.
Now it is up to EU leaders to show responsibility, determination, the ability to act and to agree at the 17 July Council meeting on the European Recovery Plan and a robust next MFF. We hope that the bridges to bring the different positions among Europen Leaders together, as were presented by Council President Michel on 10 July, will eventually contribute to finding a common solution that has to be implemented swiftly.
This is about being big on the big things, in the end it is about the future of the unique European Project. We have one shot to get it right.