With a True ‘Single’ Market for Off-Road Machines within Reach, a Supportive Policy Framework is now Needed to Master the Digital Transformation Ahead
Brussels, 11 October 2017 – The EU’s Internal Market must become truly ‘Single’ and ‘Digital’ if Europe’s agricultural and construction machinery industries are set to strive in the future. This was the key message during a Dinner Debate organized at the European Parliament on 11 October by sector associations CECE and CEMA and the European Forum for Manufacturing (EFM). Chaired by MEP Jo Leinen, the debate focused on two essential questions: how to close remaining gaps in the Internal Market and how to make it fit-for-purpose in the Digital Age.
Single Market for off-road machines finally within reach
Industry speakers broadly welcomed the upcoming Commission proposal on the completion of the Single Market for off-road machines. The Commission aims to achieve this by creating one single approval system which will authorize mobile machines for road use across the entire EU without imposing further cumbersome national technical requirements.
CEMA President Richard Markwell called the initiative as “a cornerstone” of the Single Market and urged the Commission to include the proposal in the annual Work Programme so as to table it soon and give enough time to the legislator to deal with it. In so doing, he encouraged the Commission to take recourse to existing legislation and harmonized standards. “Setting-up common safety rules for mobile machines will cut unnecessary costs and administrative burden when placing machines on the EU market”, he said. “This will greatly benefit customers and boost the competitiveness of Europe’s agricultural and construction equipment industries.”
Towards a Digital Single Market that is business-friendly & fit-for-purpose
Looking into the future, the debate focused on the critical importance of a supportive EU policy framework to master the digital transformation in both industries. While highly advanced digitized machines are already mainstream in both industries, the actual uptake of such technologies is still low in European agriculture and the EU’s construction sector. At the same time, and with technology evolving fast, both sectors need to master the bigger digital transformation to remain globally competitive. To do so, a supportive EU policy framework and a business-friendly Digital Single Market will be essential.
As an area of concern CECE President Bernd Holz mentioned the ePrivacy Regulation which is currently under review and aims at better protecting people’s life and personal data in electronic communication. Holz urged MEPs to exclude Machine-To-Machine communication (M2M) from the proposal, such as those happening on jobsites between construction machinery for the benefit of efficient operations. “Tomorrow’s vote at the Justice and Home Affairs committee of the European Parliament is just a first step in this key file”, Holz said, “but it will give us a clear signal as to the EU’s real willingness to build a Digital Single Market that is truly fit for purpose and business-friendly.” According to Holz, there is a clear misunderstanding and a series of unintended consequences in the Commission’s proposal, which the Parliament must clarify. Freedom of contract should be the basis of business-to-business relations and an extension of the scope is incompatible with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in relation to which the E-Privacy Regulation is a lex specialis.
Further industry speakers also reiterated their claims towards the EU Institutions to support the development of digital skills, to improve high-speed broadband infrastructure in Europe and to use EU tools and programs to incentivize digital technology investment in agriculture and construction.
The Dinner Debate was the official opening event of the sectorial Summits held by CECE and CEMA on 11 and 12 October in Brussels. The Summits are bi-annual central networking events for the manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment in Europe and EU politicians. The also attract representatives of suppliers, dealers, contractors, rental companies, industry representatives and exhibition partners.
Photo Source CECE: Attended the CECE/CEMA Dinner Debate – from left to right: Bernd Holz, CECE President, Birgit Weidel, Acting Head of Unit, European Commission, Enrico Prandini, CECE Vice President, Anthea McIntyre, MEP UK , Paul Rübig, MEP Austria, Margus Mägi, Digital Policy Coordinator, Government Office of Estonia and Richard Markwell, CEMA President.
CECE, the Committee for European Construction Equipment, represents the interests of 1,200 construction equipment manufacturers through national trade associations in 13 European countries: Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Russia and Turkey. CECE manufacturers generate € 40 billion in yearly revenue, export a sizeable part of the production, employ around 300.000 people overall. They invest and innovate continuously to deliver equipment with highest productivity and lowest environmental impact. Efficiency, safety and high-precision technologies are key. See also www.cece.eu.
CEMA is the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry. In the agricultural machinery sector, there are some 4,500 manufacturers, that generate an annual aggregate turnover of around €26 billion. 135,000 people work in this sector and a further 125, 000 people work in distribution and maintenance. The companies are mainly small and medium-sized manufacturers. The sector covers around 450 different machine types. www.cema-agri.org.