The Confederation of European Paper Industries has warned the European Commission that unless action is taken, innovation in the paper and pulp industry will not survive.
European industry leaders made the statement as they launched a Manifesto for Competitiveness and Employment when they met with the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry Gunther Verheugen on 29 June.
CEPI chairman Magnus Hall said: The European Union cannot afford to let the pulp and paper industries 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.
The paper industry is suffering due to a sharp decline in demand, low investment and high unemployment levels. Paper grade production is currently down between 16 and 25 per cent across Europe.
The manifesto lists seven key areas where the European Commission must take economic action. These include:
-Ensuring a better balance in policymaking between advocates of environmental legislation, 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 regulations to facilitate restructuring
- Fighting protectionism in competing countries
- Turning innovation into reality
The pulp and paper industry employs 260,000 people and turns over 80 billion euros each year.