EUPAVE held a successful dinner debate with the European Commission

EUPAVE held a successful dinner debate with the European Commission. The association found a friend in Dominique Ristori -Director-General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre-, who acknowledged that the EU institutions should further recognize the importance and contribution to the society's economic wellbeing of key sectors such as the concrete paving one.

Mr. Dominique Ristori, Director-General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (left) and Mr. Andre Burger, EUPAVE Vice-President (right)

On the 5th of December EUPAVE held its traditional annual dinner at Louise Avenue Brasserie& Restaurant in Brussels. The event had a very high-level representative from the European Union.

European Commission's Director-General for the Joint Research Centre, Mr Dominique Ristori, honoured with his presence the debate entitled "How to provide EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support?".

Mr. Pierre Nicolas, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (right) and Mr. Andre Jasienski, EUPAVE Board Member (left)

Welcoming the participants and opening the debate, Mr Andre Burger, Vice-President of EUPAVE, explained that 2013 had been an important year for the association. In addition to the achievements of EUPAVE throughout 2013 (publications, organisation of workshops, greater visibility before the EU and the preparation of the 12th International Symposium on Concrete Roads), institutional changes in the association have led to a new President and Vice-President. However, Vice-President Burger insisted that business continue as usual and that the aim of EUPAVE is still the same: to defend the benefits that concrete transport infrastructure may bring for the economy, environment and society. 

Mr Ristori briefly explained the role of the Joint Research Centre. He also called for the EU to have a better recognition of those sectors that, as the concrete paving industry, turn out to be essential for economic growth and the creation of jobs. He acknowledged that the future EU budget for the period 2014-2020 gives more importance to infrastructure in general and transport one in particular.

Notwithstanding, Mr Ristori said that competitiveness must be stressed since the aim should be to shift from a low-carbon economy to a competitive one. In this sense, he claimed that political decisions should be based in solid economic analysis. Furthermore, "you cannot talk about the relaunching of the economy without recognizing your sector as a priority", he added. Considering the coming institutional changes to face by the EU in 2014, Mr Ristori expected all the EU institutions to be aligned in order to work together in favour of competitiveness.

Members of EUPAVE actively contributed to the debate and addressed relevant issues such as industrial competitiveness, research, internal market, standards and market competition with third countries and emerging economies.

Vice-President Mr Burger handing out EUPAVE Brochures to Mr Ristori

To read the press release click here.

More photos of the event (Click on the photo to enlarge) :