Commissioner Bieńkowska heads the first forum on fashion & high-end industries

Participating in the high-level Forum on the fashion and high-end industries led by the Commissioner Bieńkowska, EURATEX underlined the importance of support to SMEs’ internationalisation and access to innovation funding.
In December 2013, an Action Plan for fashion and high-end industries was adopted to set out concrete actions to strengthen the competiveness of the European fashion and high-end industries. The Action Plan also established a multi-stakeholder Forum aimed at monitoring the implementation of Plan’s actions and outlining the future developments.

On 16 June, the Forum was for the first time headed by the Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska. EURATEX’ representatives were among 26 industry representatives invited to discuss the way forward of the Action Plan. In the overview of the past actions, EURATEX was proud to find a number of its initiatives identified among ‘best practice examples’, namely the Worth Project, the eBiz initiative, the projects to promote energy efficiency, address skills mismatch through the Skills Council, improve companies’ CSR profile and other.

In the debate on the future challenges of the industry and possible future actions, Commissioner Bieńkowska stated that fashion and high-end industries are an integral part of the cultural and creative industries. The European Commission together with the Intergroup on Creative Industries in the European Parliament, represented at the Forum by its co-chair MEP Dr Christian Ehler, are seeking to maximise the impact of actions bringing all creative industries together for a new political initiative.

EURATEX President Serge Piolat took a word at the Forum to welcome the European institutions’ undertakings for the support of creativity and innovation. He underlined that the specificities of the whole textile and clothing industry (not only its fashion part) should be taken into account in future joint actions. Among those the key elements are strengthening the industrial base and conducting balanced policy making in trade – reciprocity at sectoral level. As well companies’ internationalisation should be supported by accessible tools; SMEs’ access to innovation funding should be facilitated by means of existing platforms and creation of new services for innovation.

The first meeting of the Forum clearly demonstrated that the high-end and fashion industries play an important role in reinforcing the EU industrial base. The European Commission is already working on the strategy to boost the potential of cultural and creative industries in growth and jobs creation which is planned to be presented in 2016.

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