Antonio Tajani, candidate for industry commissioner

Antonio Tajani, candidate for industry commissioner

The Italian politician nominated to become the European Union's (EU) new industry commissioner, Antonio Tajani, has said he would push hard to release credit for hard-pressed clothing and textile small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Agreeing that SMEs were the beating heart of Europe's clothing sector, Tajani said he would use the European Commission's political muscle to push banks into lending more to small businesses.

He added that he would work with the incoming research Commissioner to drive more EU research money into small-and-medium-sized business innovation.

Speaking at a European Parliament confirmation hearing last night (18 January) in Strasbourg, he agreed with comments from MEPs that the textiles sector has "been hard hit by globalisation."

The Italian conservative stressed the textile industry would remain important to Europe moving forward, and believed it was an area with potential for large growth.

"It's a sector which can be competitive not just in Europe, but it's also important for the Mediterranean area as a whole," Tajani said.

"This is why the Commission has decided that [textiles] should be one of these sunrise sectors, one of these forward-looking markets where the potential resides.

"Textiles can be a sunrise industry which will make provisions for growth, enterprise, creating jobs."

By Emma Jackson and Keith Nuthall.