By Hans-Joachim Bliss.
It is both an honour and a privilege being appointed EFFC President – the 13th in a row – through the Annual General Meeting on 25th September, and I appreciate the challenges facing the EFFC and its members in Europe.
During the next two years, I plan to continue driving the many initiatives that have started through all my predecessors, as well as bringing a fresh and vibrant approach to those challenges that exist today.
The destiny is in our hands
The EFFC was founded on the basis that “the destiny of the Specialist Foundation Industry in Europe lies in our hands” and therefore I believe we can effect change that will benefit the sector as a whole. In fact, it is worth noting the tremendous work of the previous Presidents, my Officer colleagues, the Members of the Federation and the Working Groups, that has led to great achievements being made in the technical development of our industry, in the promotion of adequate contract conditions and perhaps, most importantly, in the promotion of a safe working environment for all.
The EFFC has taken over the role of communicating and levelling the interests of Members between the many European bodies, such as the European Commission EC, the European Committee Standardization (CEN) and various European construction-focussed organisations, including the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and we shall continue in doing so.
The new website launch
After more than a decade working with the first launch of a website, EFFC has been striving to establish a modern and effective new website to promote better networking between the 16 Member Federations, as well as foster cooperation with our partners and industry colleagues.
Personally, I wish to see much greater support and enthusiasm for young professionals, as they are the future of our Industry and we are well advised to involve them more. A special section of the website has being designated and shall be developed further together with the young professionals.
A special section has been allocated to the National Federations, in order for them to show their work and achievements throughout the year. It is a fact that most of the prestigious constructions in Europe could not have been achieved without the application of state-of-the-art specialist foundation technologies. However, for the future we must maintain and develop the quality services our Industry provides to lay the foundation for the future sustainable development of cities.
By its very nature much of the work our industry performs is hidden, out-of-sight and underground, and is therefore often forgotten and overlooked when we gaze in awe at the impressive, completed buildings we have “supported”. It is therefore very important that we strive to maintain the trust of our clients and partners and even improve on it for the continuous successful incorporation and implementation of Specialist Foundation work. The new website shall demonstrate our ability to deliver.
Europe Unity is under challenges
Europe is confronted by many challenges; the financial crisis of individual members as well as the enormous numbers of refugees coming into EU, to mention just a couple of the current issues which are impacting on the ability of EU Members to jointly find solutions to overcome these issues in a mutual spirit. The news and reports about the challenges of the unity of the Members, including its currency are increasing and all this affects our work and businesses. It seems more and more difficult for the EU to address and speak up with one common language to address joint solutions.
That said, the EFFC is a good example of European unity working well and it has been doing so for 26 years. Being a “Federation of European Federations” – 16 of them in fact – the interest is purely directed on developing ever higher standards in both quality and safety throughout our Industry, and thus creating sustainable growth for our Industry and generating greater employment for our future generations.
It is however not unnoted that some federation Members are suffering difficult circumstances in their countries as many European markets have been negatively affected by the financial difficulties in Europe – and in particular the Construction Market.
I therefore wish to encourage all our Members to continue our joint efforts to foster the spirit of our Federation and to solidify the future of our Industry. Our industry partners do build a strong and effective alliance.
“The future starts with Construction” and our industry will play a vital role in the development of a sustainable infrastructure and deliver the needs that urbanization is calling for in Europe.