Europe’s technology industries call to maintain industrial production and related operations wherever possible
24 March 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak represents an unprecedented situation for Europe’s citizens, society and economy. Representing Europe’s largest industrial branch comprising roughly a third of Europe’s manufacturing industry, Orgalim welcomes the macro-economic and political measures that Member States and the EU have already agreed to help tackle the pandemic.
In these difficult times focus is needed on the crucial role of Europe’s industry to support society’s needs. Industry, and Europe’s technology industries in particular, are already mobilised to ramp up the production of the scarce goods desperately needed to tackle the crisis, adapting production lines and supply chains to bridge critical gaps. Industrial supply chains are at the heart of maintaining continuity in our daily lives – from the supply of energy, water and food to medical devices, sanitation and waste management, communications infrastructure and mobility. After the crisis, a strong industry will be essential to ensure Europe stands ready to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the crisis, rekindle Europe’s economies and safeguard the prosperity and wellbeing of its citizens.
For all these reasons, we are calling for an unequivocal commitment by the EU’s leaders that, wherever possible, industrial production and related operations must be maintained throughout the COVID-19 crisis. It is vital to prevent comprehensive industry shutdowns where companies can provide continuity in their operations while respecting the crisis management measures issued by governments, or where they are needed for the supply of the population and the functioning of infrastructure. We also call on the European Council to ensure a more coordinated and coherent approach across EU Member States, not least to avoid limitations to the free movement of goods and of the workforce needed to maintain production as much as possible. We recognise that short term measures need to be in place to control the current situation, and we support the particular focus on essential goods. However, further support is needed to ensure a continued broader supply of goods to maintain industrial production.
Europe’s technology industries stand ready to take our societal responsibility in this crisis and help wherever needed. Clearly, the safety of employees, suppliers and customers remains paramount. Companies that maintain their production and related operations will have to ensure the application of the required distancing within their sites and adhere to the relevant health and hygiene measures, in close consultation with their workforce. Our members across Europe are committed to finding practical and responsible solutions, working closely with the relevant authorities and social partners.
We remain convinced that taking resolute action in a coordinated European approach is essential to manage the immediate medical needs and mitigate the wider socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in the EU. Industry stands ready to step up to help protect our people today and protect our economies tomorrow.