The European Commission holds today a conference on the construction sector, “Construction: Let’s build changes!”.
The Welcome speech was given by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union. For him, buildings are at the core of the European Union and are particularly important for the Energy Union, as they act as a pulse of transformation. The construction sector accounts in Europe for 10% of the GDP and 18 million jobs. At the same time, 40% of the energy consumption comes from buildings. This is why the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is important for the future of the EU. Both revisions could account for a growth of 5% of the economy, as well as an addition of more than 700,000 jobs to the European economy. The Commissioner took aim at the Council, which watered down the ‘pre-cabling’ amendment of the Commission’s proposal.
UEPC assisted to the session on “Using construction to reshape our cities”, moderated by Carole Mancel-Blanchard, Deputy Head of the Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development Unit, DG Regio, European Commission. The panel included Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe; Stéphane Sonneville, Vice-President of the Professional Association of the Belgian Real Estate sector; Pedro Campos Ponte, Policy Advisor, Ministry of Interior of the Netherlands; Helmut Von Glasenapp, Secretary General of the European Long Term Investors Association; and Dimitrios Papastergiou, mayor of the city of Trikala.
Stéphane Sonneville highlighted the fact that developers have a risky role and choose cities based on their strong leadership (or lack of) to invest. He also pointed out that he was not per se against the provision in the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive but that there is a real need to give more time for the construction sector to integrate changes, as well as a need for more guidance from the public sector. He said that some clients were already asking for charging points so it was not a problem for his company to abide by the European regulations.