EU should intervene directly to revive manufacturing, say socialist MEPs


As the debate on EU membership and the ‘in or out vote’ in 2015 rages in the UK, a group of MEPs from the across Europe – members of the left-wing Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) – are campaigning for the EU to intervene directly to revive manufacturing across the continent.

manufacturingWith austerity biting, demand is now at an all time low across Europe, the growing threat of big plant closures is rattling governments.

MEPs have called on the EU to focus on manufacturing and put industrial recovery at the heart of all its policies.

Arguing for direct intervention, S&D vice-president Patrizia Toia it was time for EU action.

“Above and beyond formal powers we should set up a steering group to bring together powers and resources scattered across all sectors, to work together with national, regional and local authorities,” she said.

Industrial policy can be the solution to the crisis, because it is fundamental to growth and job creation, but we need strong investment and more social dialogue with workers at plants facing difficulties,” said Pepa Andrés, S&D shadow rapporteur on ‘Re-industrialising Europe To Promote Competitiveness and Sustainability’.

“In drafting its policy, the Commission should take into consideration the entire chain: from raw materials and energy models, all the way down to services.”

The debate took place as workers from the ArcelorMittal factory in Liège, Belgium demonstrated in Strasbourg over the sale of their site.

Belgian S&D Euro MP Frédéric Daerden expressed his support for the workers who are facing job losses, and said Europe should ease the transfer to a new owner and convince ArcelorMittal to accept a new owner who can afford the investment needed.

“I am convinced that industrial policy requires new investment from the EU and from member states, as well as environmental and social balance. We must stop being the victims of destructive international dumping,” he said.

Its good to see that some MEPs share Unite’s view there is an alternative to grinding austerity and that what is needed is an interventionist manufacturing strategy to get the economy moving again – not just in the UK – but across the EU.

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  • LB

    I looked at importing a CNC machine to manufacture some things. Small scale prototyping.

    So what do we get.

    1. Customs duty.

    2. Vat

    3. Vat on the customs duty – a tax on a tax.

    4. Insurance has tax on it.

    5. You have to pay VAT on the insurance, yet another tax on a tax.

    6. Shipping – yep, even though a large part of the shipping is outside the UK, you’ve got to pay VAT on it.

    7. To employ someone, I’ve taxed if I employ them. Employer’s tax is a tax on jobs.

    8. Then there are business rates, and bugger all back for them.

    We haven’t even got to the regulations, and proving with yards of paper work, …

    Turns out, its far cheaper to avoid all this hassle, get on a plane to Shenzen, and get the stuff made there.

    So the only intervention is tax, tax, more tax, taxes on taxes, …

    Until you address those issues, your intervention is negative. Hence the jobs have gone. No doubt the proposal will be another tax because taxes fix everything, from economic malaise to the King’s itch, and syphilis too.

    On top, you’ve got, 5,300 bn of off balance sheet debt, and health service killing 40,000 a year (BMJ).

  • JC

    What happened to the single market, or were you importing from outside the EU? Not a lot of help there.

    Nevertheless, shouldn’t we be focusing on the things we can do well; design, prototyping etc, rather than manufacturing? We used to be good at it, but things have moved on. Note that we make more cars than ever in the UK, but don’t get credit for it.

  • LB

    US or Japan.

    The point about it was it was for prototyping, small runs, high value.

    Now there clearly are changes, 3D printing being one part. You can get to prototypes quicker. However, you still need to tool up for production runs. Now the costs of getting into production is another issue. We’re talking car, or small house sort of money.

    http://www.wired.com/design/2013/01/protomold/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29

    However, the above wired story points to lowering costs and turn around. Look at the picture. Haas milling machines. Lots of them. The UK is suffering because you’re screwed if you want to import such a machine from the US, or China. Look at the cost and do the comparison.

    So we’re being taxed out of manufacturing. We’re being taxed off the high street, because of rates and parking taxes. End result, just like manufacturing, its going off shore. e.g Amazon, Google, …

    And the cause of the taxation? 5,300 bn of debts hidden off the book, that people still want paid.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, correct, if you import something you pay tax on it. How terrible.

    Keep claiming our moderate tax rates have “discouraged” business. The reality is you wanted cheap labour, so you went abroad. Now you want to lower labour costs here by slashing wages.

    And you keep claiming your debts are the states and how terrible it is that millions of people are saved by the NHS. Can’t have those!

  • Newsbot9

    How terrible that we’re not competing directly with China at Chinese wages. You’re trying to correct this of course. And keep claiming that spending is down because of tax, when it’s down because of your Tories war on demand.

    And of course you still demand people pay you for your debt. This is typical of you.

  • LB

    40,000 a year killed by the NHS. (BMJ figures).

    350 bn lower estimate on the impact to the economy, same rate as that used by the government for road deaths.

    So yep, just like you and your plans to hop it with your money to foreign climes, companies are doing the same.

    Now I want to reverse that.

  • Newsbot9

    Of course you do. No NHS, no economy, paid roads. Gotta soak the poor!

    And of course you want to force wages down so we “compete” with China directly.

    (And onnoes, I once considered a job abroad in my quite specialist subject area. Can’t be allowed in your world!)

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