Euratex reports that the textile and apparel sector, a cornerstone of European wealth and employment, comprises 192,000 companies, employing 1.3m workers and generating a turnover of €167bn, with exports exceeding €67 billion.

With the upcoming elections for the European Parliament in June 2024, the organisation calls for collaborative efforts between industry stakeholders and policymakers to create an environment conducive to innovation, creativity, and sustainability by producing policy measures and initiatives that offer a “transparent and predictable” framework for companies.

The Manifesto emphasises entrepreneurship as the bedrock of a competitive textile industry that offers high-quality, sustainable products.

Euratex stresses the importance of an open dialogue between policymakers and industry players to establish favourable conditions for operating in both internal and global markets.

To achieve this vision, Euratex recommends four points the policies should focus on:

1. Develop and implement a “smart” EU industrial Policy

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Euratex advises the creation of policies that enhance competitiveness, emphasising the need for a “competitiveness test” for new legislation. The confederation also highlights the importance of promoting education and jobs in the industry, addressing the critical shortage of skilled workers, particularly among the younger demographic. Additionally, Euratex asks for EU investment in innovation and digitalisation to maintain a competitive edge.

2. No sustainability without competitiveness

While committed to sustainability, Euratex points out the need for “economic realism” in the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles. The confederation calls for coherent, enforceable, and feasible regulations that consider the diverse landscape of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Euratex also underscores the potential fragmentation of the market due to varying national regulations, and the the need for a unified approach to sustain growth.

3. Ensure free and fair trade

With Euratex noting that Europe ranks as the second-largest global exporter of textiles and clothing, the organisation highlights the importance of open, free, and fair global markets. Euratex advocates for trade agreements that provide effective market access and a level playing field for EU companies, while also calling for vigilant protection and enforceability against free riders.

4. Incentivise the demand for sustainable textiles

Addressing the affordability barrier for sustainable textile products, Euratex proposes standard requirements and fiscal incentives to stimulate consumer demand. The confederation encourages public authorities to implement green public procurements, integrating sustainability criteria into their evaluation processes.

Alberto Paccanelli, Euratex president commented: “These elections are a turning point for the future of Europe and its industrial base. While some regions of the world are already taking measures to support their industry, Europe has been lagging behind.

“Now we need a clear vision which brings us towards a greener and wealthier future. We need to reconcile these two objectives and bring with us major global partners because this transformation cannot be done by one region only.”

Yesterday (19 December), Euratex threw its weight behind the European Commission’s initiative to revise the Textiles Labelling Regulation and deemed it “necessary” to ensure regulatory coherence by proposing updates with four key pillars, including fibre composition and care instructions.