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Brussels, 31 March 2023. – On 30 March 2022, the European Commission presented its vision for the future of the textile industry. The strategy mainly focuses on reducing the environmental footprint and promote sustainability and transparency in the value chain.
EURATEX has welcomed the publication of the strategy, as it recognises the strategic importance of the European textile industry, and its core competitive values of quality and creativity. At the same time, we have warned that translating that vision into reality is a delicate process, as we need to reconcile sustainability with competitiveness. Making the green (and digital) transition should make our companies stronger; the benefits should outweigh the costs.
This premise had a serious blow by the Russian war in Ukraine, which erupted at almost the same time when the strategy was launched, and has dramatically changed the economic context. Energy prices increased by a factor of 10 (!), putting the European industry at a significant disadvantage with its global competitors, leading to company shutdowns or relocations. Extended lock downs in China and defensive trade policies in the US and elsewhere have further generated uncertainty on the market and disrupted supply chains.
Today, 1 year after its publication, we remain carefully optimistic about the implementation of the strategy, but need to warn against some important pitfalls on the road ahead.
Despite these important challenges, EURATEX remains committed to the successful implementation of the EU Textile Strategy. Director General Dirk Vantyghem commented: “We want to be a global leader in sustainable textiles, building on the entrepreneurship, quality and creativity of nearly 150,000 European textile companies. Creating this new framework is an incredible challenge, requiring a close dialogue between the industry and the regulator. But if well designed and carefully implemented, it can set a new era for the European textile industry”.
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