Today, 73 industry leaders from almost 20 industrial sectors representing foundation industries, together with industrial trade unions, presented ‘The Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal’ to Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo and Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.

The declaration underlines industry’s commitment to Europe, to the green transition and to keeping high quality jobs in Europe. It outlines the urgent need to ensure that industry has the right framework conditions to deliver on its commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 in the face of a severe economic downturn, increased competition from the U.S. and China, escalating production costs and skyrocketing investment needs.

The declaration outlines 10 concrete actions, including integrating the EU Industrial Deal into the broader European Strategic Agenda and securing investment for energy-intensive industries through a Clean Tech Deployment Fund, linking public funding with guarantees to ensure the retention and creation of quality jobs in Europe. It also calls for Europe to become a world leader in providing abundant and affordable low-carbon energy through strategic partnerships and robust infrastructure, as well as increased support for EU projects. It stresses the need to ensure self-sufficiency in raw materials, stimulate demand for sustainable products and promote innovation.

IndustriAll Europe General Secretary, Judith Kirton-Darling, underlines the importance of the initiative for industrial workers:

“The future of our energy-intensive industries, which are fundamental to delivering the climate solutions Europe needs, depends on investment and targeted industrial policies in these politically and economically challenging times. This is what industry and unions are calling for with this declaration.

“IndustriAll Europe has consistently argued that building green industries requires investment and solidarity to avoid regional inequalities. We therefore fully support today’s call for a European approach instead of twenty-seven different national incentives. But let’s be very clear: this demands that macroeconomic fiscal rules allow the space for this investment. Industrial policy is incompatible with austerity in Europe.

“Most importantly, trade unions have repeatedly demanded a social deal to implement the Green Deal. This declaration underlines the need to keep quality jobs in Europe, ties public funding to social conditions such as guarantees for good industrial jobs, calls for stronger social dialogue and a Just Transition for millions of workers affected by the transformation of industry. It therefore has our full support.

"As trade unions, we are absolutely clear that a European Industrial Deal cannot be a mandate for deregulation. But we are calling for an improved European policy framework that is coherent and doesn't undermine climate and social objectives.

“The Antwerp declaration comes at a time of growing social unrest and workers turning their backs on the European project, which many equate with economic austerity. In parts of Europe, the Green Deal has become synonymous with deindustrialisation. EU leaders would be well advised to take the concerns of industry and industrial workers very seriously. A European Industrial Deal will help ensure that industry can play its part in delivering the EU Green Deal and quality industrial jobs – a crucial factor in working people’s acceptance of the Green Deal commitments.”

Press release of the Belgian trade unions: FR NL