May 29th 2024



With the European elections approaching, ATP’s president, Mário Jorge Machado, is drawing the attention of the future leaders of the European Commission to the EURATEX Manifesto, which he submitted in Brussels a couple of months ago. This document presents 15 recommendations from the European textile and clothing industry centred on four pillars – intelligent industrial strategy; realistic targets for sustainability; free and fair trade; and a focus on the consumer.

As the Portuguese count down to the European elections – the importance of which Dirk Vantyghem, director of EURATEX stressed last Tuesday – scheduled for 9 June, ATP – Textile and Clothing Association of Portugal, which represents Portugal at EURATEX, the sector’s voice in the EU, recalls the 15 proposals advocated by the European association’s Manifesto released at the end of last year to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the textile and clothing industry now and in the future.

In terms of industrial policy, the need for smarter regulation to increase competitiveness and reduce bureaucracy stands out. Furthermore, it is crucial to promote education and employment in the sector, guarantee access to sustainable energy at competitive prices, invest in innovation and digitalisation, and reconcile growth with sustainability. ‘It is crucial that the future leaders of the European Commission understand the need for more efficient regulation, because we need to reduce the bureaucracy that limits our competitiveness,’ says the ATP´s president.

When it comes to sustainability, EURATEX advocates the importance of setting realistic targets and implementation deadlines for new legislation, avoiding the fragmentation of the EU Single Market, and guaranteeing global sustainability commitments to achieve fair competition. ‘Sustainability cannot be achieved with unrealistic targets and impossible deadlines. We are in favour of targets that allow for a fair and balanced transition,’ he stresses.

In the context of international trade, the European association recommends the adoption of balanced free trade agreements, negotiations with the US, the promotion of proximity procurement, the strengthening of market surveillance and the application of trade defence measures when justified. It also emphasises the importance of promoting European design and quality products on global markets and facilitating trade for SMEs. ‘The European textile industry needs balanced free trade agreements that protect our interests and promote neighbourhood sourcing,’ explains Mário Jorge Machado. ‘It is essential to strengthen market surveillance and apply trade defence measures when necessary, thus ensuring fair competition for all,’ he adds.

In the Manifesto, EURATEX also suggests encouraging demand for sustainable textiles, avoiding greenwashing practices, introducing tax incentives for the purchase of sustainable articles and implementing ‘green’ purchases with public authorities as well. To ensure the effectiveness of these proposals, the association recommends a more coherent and collaborative approach in the EU decision-making process.

‘For these proposals to be effective, we need a more coherent and collaborative decision-making process in the EU. Only this way will we be able to foster the competitiveness and sustainability of our industry in perpetuity,’ says the ATP´s president. ‘We call on the future leaders of the European Commission to seriously consider the 15 recommendations of the EURATEX Manifesto. These proposals not only strengthen the textile and clothing industry, but also promote sustainable and inclusive economic development for the whole of Europe,’ he concludes.