BRUSSELS (Nov. 29, 12:15 p.m. ET) — The leader of Europe's trade association for plastics processors has highlighted “the dangers of an obsession with the EU's financial woes” and “a neglect of the opportunities which can be created by our manufacturing sector.”
Alexandre Dangis, managing director of Brussels-based European Plastics Converters (EuPC), said: “The EU needs the political will to implement austerity measures for sure but governments and the media should recognize that large areas of the corporate manufacturing sector are performing well, generating profits and creating jobs.
“To dwell on the financial crisis is potentially debilitating and risks projecting an image of general failure to the world's emerging markets such as South America and Asia where we have so much go gain.”
The mood in the plastics sector is upbeat, he said.
“We are an incredibly lively industry,” he said. “We are developing products from new types of material such as bio-based plastics, we are finding ways to recycle more plastics products, using more recyclates in final applications, and we are using plastics in more demanding and challenging applications such as in aerospace, automotive and healthcare.
“We are also in the lead in showing how our plastics products can help alleviate the effects of pressing issues such as climate change through the insulating qualities of plastics building products' for more sustainable housing.”
According to Dangis, the European Union's institutions can do more to boost the industry's business development potential. “The creation of a Single European Market necessitated the harmonization of technical standards and all too often in this process the role of plastics in general or individually has been questioned.
“In contrast, global emerging markets are actually building their growth on plastics products, which are seen as essential tools in improving living standards. European companies have tremendous potential to share in this global growth.
“The vast majority of plastics materials were developed in Europe, the world's leading equipment suppliers are European, the finest academic institutes for plastics engineering are European and in so many plastics applications such as plastics molded components for cars or extruded products such as window profiles, our European companies are the world leaders.”
He called for fewer regulations and a greater incentives for entrepreneurial initiatives.
“SMEs [small and medium-sized entities] in particular need more freedom of action and a reduction in bureaucratic obligations. The plastics industry is largely an industry of SMEs and in our experience especially small firms can, given the right environment, have a significant technological impact on a global scale.”