Building a resilient and sustainable Europe together
Manifesto for action - EU Term 2024-2029


Representing almost 10% of EU GDP and over 13 million jobs, the construction sector serves as a catalyst for other industries, including energy, manufacturing, materials and services. A thriving construction industry will have positive spill-over effects on various other sectors, leading to increased economic activity and opportunities for European businesses.

We create jobs, prosperity and hope for the future.

However, rising material costs and interest rates, inflation and weaker household budgets, together with very strong geo-political tensions, are creating a ‘perfect storm’. Several Member States are already experiencing the first signs of decline in construction activity, mainly in the housebuilding sector.

The green transition is an opportunity and, at the same time, an urgency, as the European continent is witnessing more and more heatwaves, flooding and other extreme weather events. The construction sector can contribute with entrepreneurship and innovation to the creation of resilient cities and communities and to mitigating climate change. Constructing energy efficient buildings, shifting to renewable energy and resources and building climate-resilient, sustainable infrastructure are some examples of how the construction industry is working towards climate neutrality by 2050.

The success of this transition depends on how well the economy as a whole works. Competitiveness is based on companies' ability to succeed in the market in a profitable way. The need for a strong and well-functioning single market has never been greater. Future economic growth prospects will require well-balanced policies to support innovation, increase skills, reduce barriers in labour and product markets and enable a better allocation of resources.

Reliable access to raw materials at competitive conditions, efficient permitting procedures, a stable supply of fossil free energy and tackling skills shortages will be crucial for our success. A coherent legislative framework that better balances different societal needs and adequately takes into account the specificities of the construction sector is needed in order to effectively implement the green transition at national level.

To support a resilient and sustainable Europe, the European construction sector is calling for the following measures at EU level:

  1. Competitive access to production resources. Energy, raw materials, labour, and capital must be available under competitive conditions. This calls for strengthening domestic production, ecosystems and resources, and ensuring a diversity of suppliers, in particular where there is no domestic production.
  2. A business-friendly legislative framework. Overall, the EU policy framework must support entrepreneurship and innovation, investment and trade. All new policy initiatives must be practicable and supportive of economic growth and competitiveness. Better coherence and balance in all legislations between different policy objectives must be ensured. The green transition also requires faster and more balanced permitting processes. The focus should be on implementing the Green Deal on a practical level and the bureaucratic burden should be reduced as much as possible in order to accelerate significantly the pace of execution of projects.
  3. Open markets and level playing field. Businesses of all sizes, sectors and locations need access to markets with a level playing field in the EU and globally. We must also step up efforts to combat fraudulent practices and to establish a framework that promotes fair competition.
  4. A well-functioning labour market. This calls for workforce mobility, effective lifelong learning systems and improved anticipation of future skills needs. All initiatives should aim at increasing the attractiveness and gender balance in the construction sector.
  5. Respecting social dialogue. As the officially recognised EU sectoral social partner for the construction industry and representing the employers, FIEC believes in the usefulness of a sectoral social dialogue, both at EU and national level, where the autonomy of social partners and subsidiarity principles should always be respected.
  6. Facilitating adequate financing. Several EU legislative measures require a major financial commitment for their implementation. It is therefore necessary to provide adequate funding under the EU budget. As a short-term measure, flexibility in the application of State aid rules, even though exceptional and temporary in nature, could facilitate the financing of necessary infrastructure and housing, in order to underpin important industrial projects and support competitiveness for European companies and regions. The Union should promote a stable regulatory and fiscal framework in order to mobilise long-term private sector capital in addition to public funding to accelerate the green transition.
  7. Combat housing shortages and energy poverty. Europe’s housing markets are under rising pressure, while increasing energy costs are affecting household budgets and their purchasing power even further. Therefore, a comprehensive EU approach is needed to provide for affordable and sustainable housing. The renovation of dwellings and buildings may notably contribute to achieving EU goals on energy, including combating energy poverty.
  8. Investing in infrastructure for the green and digital transition in Europe and beyond. Europe’s energy, transport and digital infrastructure must be upgraded in order to achieve the goals of the twin transition. This requires sustainable investment into infrastructure in Europe and beyond under the umbrella of the Global Gateway Initiative.