Image credit: Flexible Packaging Europe

Industry association Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) says the European industry is making a united call to prevent the risk of de-industrialization by relaunching Europe’s competitiveness.

It adds that the EU enters a new policy cycle at a challenging time, with technology and geopolitics acting as global disruptors, and states a strategic plan needs to be built that unlocks the full potential of the single market and establishes a regulatory environment for the EU industry to remain globally competitive.

The manifesto emphasizes the need for stronger cooperation between industry and public authorities, with policymakers sharing best practice. It also highlights a global approach, focusing on Europe’s contribution and how to replicate the association’s solutions elsewhere in the world.

FPE states effective trade defence instruments are essential, but the EU should keep Europe open for business by “preserving its investment attractiveness, global export performance and ensuring access to strategic materials and technologies to support the green and digital transition”.

When it comes to the EU market and competitiveness, many companies believe the integrity of the single market needs to be preserved and its and completion and enforcement supported. Upholding single market principles across all policies and legislation requires political ownership by all European Commission services, all European Parliament Committees and all parts of the EU Council and national Ministries, ensuring that all relevant services are adequately consulted along the legislative process.

FPE says legislation driving the green and digital transition must be underpinned by comprehensive, data-based impact assessments, particularly where multiple policies intersect and impact entire industrial value chains. It adds that to deliver long-term competitiveness and resilience, an EU green and digital industrial policy must be socially inclusive - EU legislators must be mindful of how regulation impacts ordinary people.

The association says, in terms of innovation, the EU’s Horizon Europe funding programme is a key tool, and the private sector is keen to collaborate on projects that produce a strong and sustainable regulatory framework.

Last year Plastics Recyclers Europe released a manifesto encouraging the EU to drive competitiveness and innovation for plastics, listing science-based policies, traceable imports, and realistic targets amongst its recommended points of priority. It highlights harmonized collection systems and realistic recycling and recycled content targets as methods of overcoming systemic barriers.

More recently, European Bioplastics’ new policy manifesto urged the European Union to lay out a Biopolymers Industrial Action Plan and drive the growth of the bioplastics industry – suggesting that it establish harmonized regulatory framework, introduce market incentives, and drive consumer awareness of its environmental benefits. According to EUBP, developing an actionable EU Bioeconomy Strategy should be a priority in the next EU policy cycle - its creation is set to support a ‘strong industrial base’ for biopolymers.

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