FIEC Congress and General Assembly, Brussels

Emre Aykar, CICA President and Member of FIEC Steering Committee, accompanied by Fanny Dastugue, CICA Assistant Director General, participated to the annual FIEC Congress and General Assembly held in Brussels from the 4th to the 6th of June 2015.

FIEC President, Johan Willemen, introduced the Congress together with Colette Golinvaux, President of the Belgian Construction Confederation who hosted the Congress.

Jean-Claude Juncker, current President of the European Commission, the executive Branch of the European Union (EU) spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference on “Construction Industry Priorities for Competitiveness”. He presented the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan” which consists of a € 315 billion Investment Plan with a guarantee fund of € 21 billion (€ 16 billion from the EU and € 5 billion from the EIB).

He insisted on the fact the Plan must be accompanied by a consolidation of public finances and the implementation of structural reforms.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is in charge of the selection of the projects that will benefit from the European Union guarantee. The aim is to have a more objective approach as the EIB is closer to the real economy than the Commission, and to depoliticize the investments.

Jean-Claude Juncker insisted that given the current lack of public money, it is crucial to attract the available private savings. He finally evoked the need for an action against climate change without harming the companies stating that the EU is exemplary but that other countries should go in the same direction.

During the roundtables that followed, Gauthier Bourlard, currently working at the Belgian Ministry of Finance as Inspector and Coordinator in the Multilateral Institutions Unit and Member of the Board of Directors of the EIB described the Juncker plan from the point of view of the Bank. “The Bank is the key stakeholder in implementing the Plan and will have to approve each and every project”. He explained the aim is to restore confidence and the Bank will be able to finance more risky projects. Several projects have already been pre-financed by the EIB.

Jean-Louis Marchand, President of the FIEC Economic and Legal Commission and President of Advancity, the French cluster for sustainable cities, insisted “we need a clear legal and social frameword […] this is the first demand of the sector”.

FIEC President Johan Willemen concluded “We need to have good projects with high social economic returns”. He emphasized on the need to “change the mindset and encouraged the companies to knock at the EIB’s door”.