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In our ongoing efforts to represent IPC members’ interests in policy debates worldwide, IPC’s Vice President of Global Government Relations Chris Mitchell recently traveled to Brussels, Belgium, where he had a series of meetings with European Union policy makers, along with Nicolas Robin, IPC’s new senior director, Europe. Chris and Nicolas met with decision-makers from the European Commission, European Parliament, and Member State representatives to exchange views on core issues affecting IPC members. The visit helped advance preparations for this year’s IMPACT Europe, as well as strengthen relations with IPC members.
Chemical Policy and Skills at The Heart of Discussions
Topics of discussion included research into lead-free electronics and chemicals legislation. On these subjects, IPC advocates for smart environmental regulations that strike the right balance between risk, cost, and benefits. The European Commission is currently looking at the interface between chemical, product, and waste legislation, which could potentially result in the introduction of new requirements for the design of products as well as the tracking of certain substances throughout the supply chain.
Chris and Nicolas discussed these issues with Austrian MEP Paul Rübig, who plays a key role on these issues. IPC will continue the dialogue with Rübig and other MEPs to advocate for members’ concerns, particularly with regard to reducing administrative burdens.
Workforce skills was another important discussion topic, as it is becoming a pivotal issue for the electronics industry and a key pillar of IPC’s advocacy activities. Indeed, to mark its significance, this year’s IMPACT Europe will include a dedicated panel discussion on how the electronics industry can prepare the workforce of tomorrow.
Commission officials confirmed their emphasis on vocational training and education and presented the so-called “Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills,” an initiative to bring together business, trade unions, research, education and training institutions, as well as public authorities who develop curricula for selected sectors. These views were echoed by the office of the Romanian Permanent Representative, who will be leading the policy work of the Member States during the first half of 2019. Officials noted that they are examining incentives to encourage vocational training, and the separate issue of workforce mobility. IPC presented its ongoing education initiatives, including our Job Task Analysis Committee, which is a critical part of our efforts to close the skills gap.
Your Opportunity to Interact with EU Officials on Industry Issues
Outside of the policy maker meetings, the Brussels outreach program was a great opportunity to strengthen links with IPC members with a presence in Brussels, including Airbus, Continental, Siemens, 3M, Intel and Rolls-Royce. IPC Europe is currently setting up a Government Relations Committee to help drive the organisation’s work on policy issues. Participation is open to all members, and those interested are invited to e-mail NicolasRobin@ipc.org to find out more.
The Brussels visit also helped solidify the program for IPC’s “IMPACT Europe 2018 – Empowering the EU Electronics Industry,” coming up on 28-29 November, during which we will be discussing our policy concerns with EU officials. Stay tuned for the full program and register now to speak directly with EU decision makers on issues such as environmental legislation, conflict minerals, and skills.