RENOLIT signs Antwerp Declaration for a European Industry Deal

A post by:     Michael Kundel
Last updated: 2024-06-03

The Green Deal must be supplemented

Since the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the “New Deal” in 1932, this seems to be the standard response to a profound crisis. At the time, a whole series of economic and social reforms were intended to overcome the global economic crisis.

The European Union picked up on this a few years ago and proclaimed the European Green Deal. A concept with which the EU wants to finally become climate-neutral. 

For me, this is a coherent approach. Such a major challenge requires many interlinked, bundled measures. 

However, one important factor is being neglected in the design of the European Green Deal: industry. It is already under massive pressure due to climate change, the changing geopolitical situation and many other factors. 

Without a strong industry, however, neither climate protection will succeed nor can we secure prosperity in Europe. 

The European Green Deal therefore urgently needs to be supplemented. 

Industry and climate protection must strengthen each other

Industry and climate protection must strengthen each other
I firmly believe that industry and climate protection should not be opposites. They must strengthen each other. Instead of political actionism, we need complementary programs that reconcile climate protection and industrial policy. If we fail to achieve this, the signs of partial deindustrialization that are already visible in large-scale industry will inevitably have a gradual but consistent impact on international SMEs. Politicians and society must understand that the playing field for SMEs is now more international than ever and that investment decisions are increasingly being made globally, taking all framework conditions into account. And it is also a fact that internationally operating industrial companies in Europe are coming under increasing pressure to generate profits and that growth and rising profits are more likely to be achieved outside Europe.

I am not alone in this view. 

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo put it crystal clear in 2023: “How can our European industry continue to grow? The answer is: with a European industrial deal on the same level as the European Green Deal.
Not in opposition to each other, but to reinforce each other.”

This Industrial Deal is now also being called for in a declaration by companies, business representatives and trade unions from all over Europe - the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal.

I have signed this declaration on behalf of RENOLIT.

The Antwerp Declaration

The Antwerp Declaration is an impressive appeal by several hundred companies, organizations and business representatives. It was presented to the Belgian Prime Minister and current EU Council President Alexander De Croo and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on February 20, 2024.

The demand: more clarity, security and trust in Europe and its industrial policy.

The Antwerp Declaration focuses on 10 key points that are intended to strengthen industry in the long term:

1. focus on industry: industry must be placed at the heart of the European strategy for the coming years.
2. support for energy-intensive industries: Strong public support is needed to meet the challenges.
3. energy costs: Global competitiveness in the energy sector must be ensured and energy costs must be reduced. 
4. focus on necessary infrastructure: The EU needs world-class infrastructure in the areas of energy, digitalization, CCUS and recycling. 
5. increase the security of raw materials: the EU internal market for raw materials should be strengthened through domestic extraction, sustainable processing and recycling capacities and new global partnerships
6. increase demand for CO2-neutral and circular products: Commercial and private consumers should be better able to recognize and select climate-friendly products. This requires transparent product carbon footprints.
7. strengthening and standardizing the internal market: the fragmentation of the European market must be reduced and uniform regulations created.
8. enable innovation: Scientific and technological innovations must be better promoted, digitalization must be expanded and intellectual property must be strengthened.
9. more entrepreneurial spirit in legislation: bureaucracy should be reduced and entrepreneurship promoted more strongly. Above all, laws should create incentives.
10. strengthen industrial policy structures: The Industrial Deal needs appropriate structures in the EU and must become a matter for the boss in the truest sense of the word.    

For a strong European industry

As CEO of RENOLIT, I cordially invite you to join us in this important cause. The declaration can be signed by companies, organizations and individuals. A strong industry is crucial for the future of Europe - and for the success of all climate protection plans. We must stand up for this together.