“The current Covid-19 crisis and the European Green Deal will accelerate the shift towards more sustainability”
How is CEPE supporting its members during these challenging times?
Harald Borgholte: While it is still too early to provide definite figures, it is clear that several sectors of the coatings industry have been impacted by the pandemic. CEPE and our national associations, have moved immediately to online conferences and ensured a continuation of information exchange and coordinated efforts for the benefit of the sector. This includes advocating for open EU borders to ensure functioning supply chains, the extension of several deadlines and continued work on key files such as the poison centres, the proposal for a restriction on non-intentionally added micro-plastics, and biocides.
Despite the crisis, this period has also proven to be an opportunity to advocate towards authorities and the general public for the recognition of our products for society. These products contribute to addressing the current environmental challenges and to sustainability. As CEPE we are in a continuous dialogue with the EU institutions to find the balance between the needs for a sustainable future and European competitiveness.
Apart from the pandemic, what issues are still in your focus?
Borgholte: Given the economic and social impact of the pandemic, all attention is currently focused on the various multi-million-euro renovation measures – our sector should benefit from some aspects of the announced renovation wave. In this context, one could have expected the European Commission (EC) to propose some extensions to upcoming deadlines, such as the poison centres or even a regulatory pause, but this has not been the case.
Instead, the EC is continuing to consult stakeholders on priority issues in relation to Europe’s new growth strategy, the European Green Deal, which shall enable the transition to a digital and green society. The strategy is ambitious and is underlined by the objective to become carbon neutral by 2050. Our sector will predominantly look at two key pillars, the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the upcoming chemicals strategy for sustainability. While it will depend on the final design of the measures, one should expect more pressure on our businesses to become more sustainable. I believe that the current Covid-19 crisis and the European Green Deal will accelerate the shift towards more sustainability.