Europe's Paper Industry Calls for EU Cooperation

July 1, 2009 - European leaders of the pulp and paper industry launched its manifesto for competitiveness and employment during a meeting with the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Günther Verheugen, in Brussels.

The group sounded a stark warning that unless solutions are found quickly to respond to the economic crisis and that a more rational policy making approach is introduced the competitive transformation of their industry, and indeed all European industry, will be not be sustained.

Following the meeting with Commissioner Verheugen, Magnus Hall, CEO of Holmen and Chairman of the CEPI said: “The European Union cannot afford to let the pulp and paper sector and its related value chain slide into crisis. We must work together with the European Commission to identify the causes of the current problems, ensure that nothing is done to make a bad situation worse and build solutions together that deal with the real issues.”

Commenting on the manifesto, Teresa Presas, Managing Director of CEPI said, “We have presented a clear list of areas where we believe the Commission can be forward thinking and provide the stimulus that industry needs. It must walk the talk and be consistent with the goals it has set for Europe.”

The key areas where the industry urges the European Commission to act include:

  • Ensuring a better balance in policymaking between advocates of environmental, competitiveness and employment interests.
  • Allowing Europe to compete with lower energy cost competitors
  • Creating winners not victims in the EU Emissions Trading System
  • Boosting the availability of raw materials and market access
  • Applying flexibility to competition rules to facilitate restructuring
  • Fighting protectionism in competing countries
  • Turning innovation into a reality

More than ever, Europe needs to reconcile competitiveness and sustainability for its industry to thrive in a global market. For the European pulp and paper industry competitiveness is economics. Meeting this challenge depends largely on policy makers.

The pulp and paper industry is an example to others in its responses to the current challenges we face, not least in mitigating climate change. Its success is based on sustainability. We practice sustainable forest management, pursue security of energy supply through renewable energy, and optimise resources through the highest recycling rates. It is a significant provider of employment, and adds economic value through the constant harnessing and updating of new technologies.

Unless fundamental support in policy making is forthcoming the unique achievements made by the industry in both sustainable production and consumption and the full potential to move forward will be lost and society as a whole will lose.


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