The two-day event began with the 19th annual meeting of the European Parliament Ceramics Forum (EPCF), chaired by EPCF Chair Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández MEP in the European Parliament. The EPCF brings together Europe’s most influential parliamentarians and policymakers with representatives from the industry to exchange on the most salient topics affecting both the industry and wider Europe.
At the 19th EPCF we welcomed the following esteemed speakers to address MEPs, CU members, and other invited EU officials on the topics of trade, climate, and research & innovation.
Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández MEP, Chair of the EPCF, welcomed participants and opened proceedings. Ms. Piñero MEP called for an ambitious EU Industrial Strategy to support industry critical to Europe's future such as the ceramics industry. Ms. Piñero MEP acknowledged the importance of the European ceramics industry as a world leader in fields such as climate action, innovation, and in particular, trade.
Trade – Trading ceramics in a turbulent world
Sandra Gallina, Deputy Director-General of DG TRADE, spoke on a wide array of salient trade-related issue in the context of an increasingly turbulent global political environment. Ms. Gallina noted that despite such troubling global developments, the European ceramics industry stands out as a “true trade champion”. Ms. Gallina praised the industry for its steadfast commitment to free trade through its active support of the EU-Canada and EU-Japan agreements as well as its support on a plethora of other free trade agreements. Ms. Gallina also commended the work of Cerame-Unie, the industry’s voice in Brussels, as an active participant in dialogue and co-operation with DG TRADE on EU trade matters. Ms. Gallina also spoke on matters of trade defence and acknowledged the obstacles facing the industry in the form of illegal trade practices from abroad. Ms. Gallina closed by addressing the issue of WTO reform and other multilateral trade issues.
Climate – Future climate strategy for the mid-century
Beatriz Yordi, Director of European and International Carbon Markets at DG CLIMA, spoke on the recently published European Commission Communication “A Clean Planet for all” on the EU's long-term strategy for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Ms. Yordi underlined the importance of industry in the decarbonisation process and acknowledged the challenges of the industrial transformation in view of achieving a carbon neutral Europe. Ms. Yordi thanked Cerame-Unie for its active participation in the compilation of the VUB/IES study on the contributions to the EU’s long-term climate strategy of energy-intensive industries. Ms Yordi also addressed the numerous other initiatives that the European Commission is developing towards net zero emissions Europe.
Research & Innovation – Ceramics on the new Horizon
Jürgen Tiedje, Head of Unit in Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Biotechnologies at DG RTD, addressed our audience on the topic of research and innovation and explored the development of the future framework programme 9 "Horizon Europe". Mr. Tiedje noted that Horizon Europe would provide real opportunities to support and foster industrial innovation and he praised the role of PPPs, such as SPIRE.
A Q&A round from the floor followed each speech.