28 May 2021 — Position Papers

European Textile, Cothing, Leather and Footwear sectors: Social Partners demand dedicated EU action to safeguard the industries and their workers



The future industrial strategy of the EU Textiles Ecosystem (TCLF sectors)

On 5 May 2021, the European Commission released an update to the 2020 New Industrial Strategy entitled ‘’Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s Recovery’’, as well as the “Annual Single Market Report 2021”. The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on European industry meant that such a targeted update was needed, especially due to the additional pressures that the crisis has put on meeting the twin green and digital transition facing European industries, including the European Textile, Clothing, Leather, and Footwear (TCLF) sectors.

European TCLF industries are major players of the European Union’s economy and cultural heritage, encompassing 200,000 companies, generating over 200 billion Euros turnover, and employing nearly 2 million people in 2019. They represent a very wide value chain, covering fashion and high-end industrial applications, making the EU the world leader in creativity and a pioneer in industrial innovation.

The Joint Statement highlights the need for a dedicated strategy with support at national and EU level to help the TCLF sectors survive following the COVID-19 pandemic, while they continue to face tough, and, sometimes unfair, global competition. The Social Partners of the TCLF industries fully support the EU’s ambitions for a green and digital transition of the sectors, but insist on concrete European measures to help the industries transform while they continue to suffer from an unlevel global playing field.

Specific joint demands include: full engagement with Social Partners in both the recovery and the transition of the industries, support for the EU Pact for Skills for the relevant ecosystem, a revision of the GSP which doesn’t negatively impact the sectors and its workers, support to decarbonise the sectors, careful consideration of the Due Diligence Legislation and quality dialogue with Social Partners ahead of the EU Sustainable Products Initiative and the Consumer Agenda to ensure that all policy gaps are addressed. Special attention must also be given to the forthcoming EU Textiles Strategy which should fully represent the needs of the EU’s entire textiles ecosystem.

 Read the Full Joint Statement HERE