Europe accounts for around 10 per cent of the world's total footwear production, or 1.2 billion pairs. 900 million of these come from Western Europe and nearly 280 million from Eastern Europe. However, the industry is going through challenging times, and last year faced losses in production, employees and companies coupled with rising imports. Philipp Urban, general executive manager of the Central Association of the German Shoe Industry and spokesman for the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry, recently gave his views on the industry's performance and what the future may hold.