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The volatility of the financial markets, the deep financial crisis in the Eurozone and the negative or stagnated economic growth made 2012 a challenging year also for the lime industry. Competitiveness of the European industry is more than ever in the heart of the debate. For the first time after several years, the climate change and environment policies do not dominate the European policy arena. High energy prices and important legislative burden make our industry unable to compete at international level.
The European Institutions have realized the importance of keeping the manufacturing industry in Europe and set an ambitious target of increasing the EU industrial GDP to 20% until 2020. However, a concrete action plan and the legal basis to set up a real industrial policy in Europe are still currently missing. The lime industry, although having strong fundamentals, is permanently challenged to remain competitive. Being an enabler, lime demand is driven by the other sectors markets such as steel, construction, chemicals etc.
To face all these challenges, EuLA, after having assessed the opportunities and threats, has elaborated a strategy for the next years. It sets the vision for the lime sector which is to ensure a competitive position for lime in a low carbon economy future but also make lime known as a sustainable product contributing to a smart and inclusive growth in Europe. This strategy focuses on preventing and anticipating any harmful legislation as well as strengthening the lime sector presence at European level. A detailed action plan describes the way to make it happen.
The Secretariat, under the guidance of the Board of Directors, is already implementing this strategy. EuLA is today registered under the EU Transparency Register, which demonstrates that EuLA plays by the advocacy rules of the European Union. The association operates with the support and expertise of the Committees composed by members, namely the Technical and Environment Committee (TEC), the Lime Application Committee (LAC) and the Standardisation (SdC) ones, which are composed by Task Forces (TFs). To better structure those groups, the Secretariat has elaborated Terms of References which describe in details the internal rules and procedures of their operation.
We would like to address a particular thanks to the Chairs and participating members of those working groups for their dedication and their contribution to the work of the association. The active participation of the members who bring their relevant expertise is key for any association and sector. A special thank goes to Daniel Puiatti who retired this year. He served the Asphalt pavement TF for several years and gave a considerable impulse to the work of this group. Christophe Denayer has been appointed as the new Chair of this TF. Steve Foster also has been appointed Chair of the Standardisation Committee. This annual report highlights the most important areas of the activities of our association and covers the period from June 2012 to May 2013. Before concluding this introduction, we invite you to address a particular thought to Michel Denys who recently passed away after a long illness which he fight with courage and dignity that we admire. Enthusiast and passionate for his profession, he had enriched us with his knowledge and experience for long years and has contributed this way to the success of numerous dossiers. We wish to express our gratitude to him.