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CEMBUREAU: Facing the challenges ahead

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At its General Assembly of 5 June, 2012, CEMBUREAU members thanked Jean-Marie Chandelle who successfully led the organisation for the past sixteen years and welcomed Koen Coppenholle as the new Chief Executive. All of us will keep warm memories of Jean-Marie as an inspirational leader, an excellent lawyer, a generous teacher and a great mentor. We are fortunate to have Jean-Marie participate in a number of ongoing projects for CEMBUREAU.

In its meeting of 28-29 June 2012, the European Council decided on a "Compact for Growth and Jobs" with the aim of "relaunching growth, investment and employment as well as making Europe more competitive". The Compact emphasises the need for a stronger coordination of European and national policies, underlines the need to focus on the financing of the economy and recognises the need to reduce the overall regulatory burden at EU and national level. It further states that the European Union's budget must be a catalyst for growth and jobs in Europe and announces a range of measures to make Europe more competitive as a location for production and investment.

Without any doubt, the Compact touches upon the levers that are essential to increase the competitiveness of Europe and of its industries on a global scale. However, it is of utmost importance that this Compact results in concrete measures and deliverables. The cement industry in Europe needs a competitive environment with an appropriate legal framework that ensures a global level playing field and provides legal certainty and predictability for investments. It is essential that climate change and energy policy are developed with a constant focus on the cost burden for industry whereby policy goals and objectives are set taking into account economic feasibility. CEMBUREAU will continue to insist on the need for thorough impact assessments of proposed legislation which need to include impact on competitiveness and jobs, not only prior to adoption but also at regular intervals thereafter. Legislation also needs to be coherent, predictable, transparent and consistent. The complexity of European legislation, the interaction between different pieces of legislation with often different objectives, frequent changes to an existing legal framework and the lack of transparency in the way the comitology procedure has been designed are of concern to our industry as they can hamper long-term investment decisions. CEMBUREAU is eager to contribute to the better regulation agenda which should remain a priority for the European institutions.

It is precisely in a globally competitive environment that CEMBUREAU and its members can contribute to achieving the goals of a more sustainable and resource efficient Europe. CEMBUREAU strongly promotes co-processing as an optimal way of recovering energy and material from waste and is eager to provide policymakers with its expertise and ideas. Our association is further in the process of developing principles on environmental economic arguments that drive the resource efficiency debate in Europe and has joined SPIRE, a research and innovation partnership the objective of which is to develop the enabling technologies and solutions that are required to reach long term sustainability for Europe. CEMBUREAU is also developing a sustainable construction strategy which fits into the European Commission's memo of 8 June 2012 in which it acknowledges that the performance of the construction sector can significantly influence the development of the overall economy.

CEMBUREAU remains committed to reflecting on the policy framework that is required to foster Europe's competitiveness and delivers progress in the areas of environment, resource efficiency and sustainability.