The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) says it welcomes the upcoming revision of the EU Industry Strategy but is urging consistency across EU policies as it grows increasingly concerned textile and apparel companies are facing significant challenges related to over-regulation and raising energy and supply costs.

Euratex notes the industry is going through “turbulent times” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic with textile and clothing sector turnover falling 10-20%.

However, it warns even bigger challenges lie ahead with serious disruptions in supply chains, soaring energy prices and protective tendencies threatening the competitiveness of the industry.

The EU Industry Strategy, which launches today (5 May), underlines the need to think carefully about Europe’s industrial base, the body says. 

While it welcomes the initiative, including the focus on 14 “eco-systems” and the proposal to develop privileged partnerships with trusted partners, Euratex calls for more consistency by the EU across its different policy areas.

“We welcome the recognition that we need a strong industrial base in Europe, but at the same time are struggling to maintain that base, as our companies face significant challenges related to over-regulation and raising energy and supply costs. It feels like one hand offering you help, while the other hand squeezes you tight,” says director-general Dirk Vantyghem.

Looking at the global perspective, Euratex says it is not calling to close the European borders, indeed its industrial model relies on accessing global markets, but notes there is a need to establish global rules to ensure fair competition, and make sure these rules are properly implemented and controlled. It adds today’s proposal to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market, should be welcomed in this context.

“European textiles and clothing industry went through turbulent times. Today, as part of this new EU Industry Strategy, we have an opportunity to build a new business model, based on innovation, quality, sustainability and fairness. We look forward to develop that new EU Textile strategy with all stakeholders involved,” adds Vantyghem.