The Trio EU Presidency programme served as a solid starting point for the exchange as it deals with a range of concerns of the metal, engineering and technology-based industries:
- How can we drive a European-wide digital transformation that is human-centred?
- What progress can we make with regard to digital skills and education?
- Are the existing measures in place enough to strengthen and maintain Europe’s leading position with regard to digitisation and key technologies of the future?
- Is there enough room for manoeuvre for social partners to shape the future of work, also with regard to digitisation?
At the occasion of the exchange Ceemet representatives put forward the answers industry has compiled in the two publications Recovery plan for a competitive industry in a resilient Europe and the 10 Point Plan for a competitive industry sustaining social Europe. The employers of the European tech & industry sector call for:
- The right framework conditions to finance the EU’s future
- Remaining in pole position requires the EU and Member States to maintain their levels of temporary, well-targeted support to the economy and its workforce until post COVID-19 recovery.
- Access to affordable finance for companies of all sizes, including start-ups has to be part of the Commission’s New Industrial Strategy that is going to be presented during the Portuguese Presidency.
- The main commodity the EU has are skills
- Invest in digital, entrepreneurial and soft skills with appropriate teaching methods and digitally competent teachers.
- Incentivise Continuing Education & Training and Lifelong Learning as it can counter reducing half-life of knowledge that is widening skills gap.
- Digital transformation is a genuine European effort, across all EU Member States
- Digitalisation has the potential to boost economic growth, competitiveness, create new jobs and make labour markets more inclusive. It requires massive public investments in networks, cable-based broadband, 5G and better coverage in mobile networks also in rural areas, where many “hidden champions” are located.
- Labour markets are an integral part of the regulatory framework for digitalisation and generally doing business. To be fit for the digital future labour markets in Europe have to be agile and leave room for experimentation. This will help the uptake of digitalisation in companies and thus the creation of employment in the industry.
The base line of Ceemet during the exchange with Secretary of State for Labour Miguel Cabrita was that Europe needs a sound and competitive industry if it wants to continue to be an attractive place to do business and keep its high social spending. And yes, at the same time industry needs Europe.
Before finishing the virtual meeting Ceemet’s President and Chairman urged Mr Cabrita to remind all parties involved in the negotiation of the next Multiannual Financial Framework and Recovery Fund that the focus should be to kick-off a sustainable economic recovery. Eventually it will be to the benefit of all, companies, workers, societies as a whole and eventually the future of the European project.