Brussels, 7 June 2018

Investing in the textile and clothing factories of the future in Europe 

In the context of the recent awarding of the SME Instument - Phase 1 by the Italian company Gualchieri e Gualchieri & C. S.r.l. with the support from our partner EuroProject Lab, EAL attended the 2018 EURATEX General Assembly.

EURATEX is the European Apparel and Textile Confederation representing the interests of the European textile and clothing industry at the level of the EU institutions. 
The EU textile and clothing industry, including manmade fibres, remains an essential pillar of the local economy across the EU regions, at the same time it is intensively competing within the international market striving for a level playing field with the rest of the world.


The topic of this year’s General Assembly was "Investments in the Textile and Clothing factories of the future in Europe". Moderated by John Scrimshaw of the World Textile Information Network (WTiN), the conference opened with welcoming remarks from EURATEX president Klaus Huneke, who mentioned “the unprecedented wave of young innovative textile and fashion companies that are currently being created across Europe” and stressed that “not only young entrepeneurs innovate and take risks. In the last few years we have witnessed a strong return of business confidence across the entire European textile and clothing industry”.

Keynote speaker Irmfried Schwimann, Deputy Director-General of DG Grow, followed with an exhaustive overview of the financial instruments and funding opportunities available from the European Union.
The main discussion was divided in two panels, focused on investment trends in recent years and visions for the industry in the future, respectively. CEOs and representatives from seven European companies presented their success stories and shared their first-hand experience in facing the challenges of the sector, from the need of skilled workforce, efforts in moving to sustainable processes and materials, and surpassing barrier regulations that can hinder exports.

The presentations and debate offered a unique point of view about the actions that can be taken at European, national and regional level to ensure the right conditions for entrepeneurs in the textile and clothing sector to keep investing and producing in Europe.
The speakers called for collaboration in the sector, highlighting the importance of investing in the development of training programs to “make the sector more competitive and attract younger experts”, and “producing locally to sustain this knowledge-based approach”.