Faith in Europe
Since 1 January, France has held the Presidency of the European Union.
The Presidency’s programme includes: building a fully sovereign Europe; creating a new European model for growth; establishing a humane Europe.
A certain number of topics which are vital for business competitiveness are particularly relevant to fashion:
- Defining a European strategy for the textile industry: This involves organising the Union’s transition to a circular economy that’s climate neutral with products designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable, and energy efficient. The objective is also to make the industry more competitive and to orient investments, research, and innovation. Once adopted, this strategy should rapidly translate into European programs and financing.
- Establishing new rules for investments and financing: A regulation (a taxonomy) is now being set up to classify ready-to-wear investments according to very precise sustainable development criteria. Since the classification will be used by the banking sector, European funds, investors, and others, it must be realistic and adapted to the characteristics of our products, including those of the sector’s SMEs.
- Creating an environmental labelling system: Work is underway simultaneously in France (the application of the 2020 AGEC law) and at the European level (the Product Environmental Footprint or PEF), but with different methods and schedules! We hope the two projects will be coordinated, since nothing could be worse (including for consumers) than having to implement two different sets of regulations at intervals of a few months or a few years.
- Improving conditions for fair competition: Reinforcing European tools to fight unfair competition is an important current topic. The anti-subsidy law and the fight against counterfeit goods are expected to be strengthened, which is welcome news. Adding mirror clauses to business agreements (to enforce the same European social and environmental standards for products manufactured outside the Union), and the eventual extension of the French Law on Duty of Care to a European scope – which we certainly approve – must also respect the reality of supply chains and SMEs.
And there are many other subjects that concern us!
The French EU Presidency and the European Commissioners, especially Thierry Breton, are well aware that these issues are crucial for fashion. But there are member states and a range of players and special interests with often opposing ideas. This is why the Fédération, with help from MEDEF (The French Business Confederation), UFIMH (The French Union of Fashion and Clothing Industries) and its European counterpart Euratex (The European Apparel and Textile Confederation), is actively involved in these issues in order to defend French businesses.
Have faith in Europe!