Industrial crisis follows financial crisis

The Brussels-based plastics processors association EuPC has told EU officials that financial support for the automotive industry needs to be extended to component suppliers.

- The financial crisis is now being followed by an industrial crisis and the EU members states and the EU Commission need to assist all EU companies to navigate through these very difficult waters - said Alexandre Dangis, managing director of EuPC, in a statement.

This message has been restated by EuPC in a series of high-level meetings held with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. These meetings aimed to secure support for the processing industry and to highlight the strategic importance of the plastics conversion sector in a balanced manufacturing economy.

In December, EuPC led a delegation of European CEOs supplying the automotive industry that met with officials from the Automotive Unit of the European Commission’s DG Entreprise. Extending automotive support down the supply chain to component suppliers is important because of “the close integration of the supply chain and the strategic importance of retaining the skills of component manufacturers within the EU,” the trade body said.

- Thousands of job losses in the automotive supply chain and many bankruptcies are ongoing as the start-up in January was very weak - said Dangis.

The threats facing plastics converters in all sectors were reiterated in a meeting held with members of the cabinet of Günter Verheugen, vice-president of the European Commission, on 16 January.

EuPC also had talks with the European Investment Bank on 21 January to ensure access to funding in the supply chain. Dangis invited a representative of the bank to attend EuPC’s National Plastics Association meeting to be held on 10 March.

EuPC and EuPR, the European Plastics Recyclers’ Association, have been invited by the European Commission’s DG Environment to discuss the wider consequences of the economic difficulties on plastics recycling markets. The Commission has been appointed by the EU’s Council of Environment Ministers to provide solutions and actions in order to support recycling in this economic turmoil.

Dangis said: - European plastics convertors have been leaders in innovation and investment, but through no fault of their own convertors are facing a crisis due to the downturn in the economy and the plight of downstream users such as automotive manufacturers. It is essential that the EU and member states recognise the importance of this sector and assist European firms through this unprecedented economic uncertainty.

- The plastics industry has so much to contribute the long-term viability of user industries and to the resolution of broad issues such as climate change, it is vital that governments facilitate as much support as possible.

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