- On 29 March 2012, the European Commission released the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for March 2012. The Figures show a decrease of 0.14 points (BCI -0.30). The decline was mainly driven by a more negative assessment of production expectations. The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) decreased in March by 0.8 points in the EU and by a marginal 0.1 points in the euro area, to 93.2 and 94.4, respectively. Confidence in construction worsened in both the EU (-0.6) and the euro area (-1.9), mainly due to a worsening of managers’ employment expectations in that sector.
- On 22 March 2012, the European Commission published the Flash Estimate Consumer Indicator for March 2012. According to the figures, the indicator continues to improve in both in the EU 27 and in the euro area.
- On 14 March 2012, Eurostat informed that the Euro area annual inflation was 2.7% in February 2012, unchanged compared with January 2012. The EU annual inflation was 3.0% in February 2012, up from 2.9% in January. In February 2012, the lowest annual rates were reported in Sweden (1.0%), while the highest in Iceland (6.7%).
- On 13 March 2012, the European Commission released the Monthly Labour Market Fact Sheet. The figures show that the EU unemployment rate hit a new high at 10.1 % in the EU in January 2012. Youth unemployment stays critical; it increased to a new historic high at 22.4%. Despite the currently uncertain economic context, EU firms’ employment expectations remain broadly optimistic in industry, but depressed in the other sectors.
- On 5 March 2012, Eurostat published the figures for the Industrial producer prices for January 2012, which increased by 0.7% both in the euro area and in the EU27 compared with December 2011. Compared with January 2011, industrial producer prices gained 3.7% in the euro area and 4.4% in the EU27.
- On 6 March 2012, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union reported that the GDP decreased by 0.3% in both the euro area and the EU27 during the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2011 household final consumption expenditure decreased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU27. Exports decreased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU27 while imports dropped by 1.2% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU27.
On 22 March 2012, a Study on the Competitiveness of the EU Mechanical Engineering Industry was presented in Brussels. The Study shows, that in 2010 the EU’s share in global trade with mechanical engineering products amounted to 37.2%, which is around 3% above its share in 2000. This growth contrasts to the performance of USA and Japan, whose shares fell from 25.6% to 17.4% and from 21.3% to 15.6% respectively.
- On 19 March 2012, Eurostat released figures for the seasonally adjusted construction output. According to the figures, the production fell by 0.8% in the euro area (EA17) and by 4.1% in the EU27 in January 2012, compared with the previous month. In December 2011, production decreased by 1.9% and 3.8% respectively. Compared with January 2011, output in January 2012 dropped by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU27.
LIVE FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION
- On 29 March 2012, in part of a plenary vote on estimates for the 2013 European parliament budget, MEPs voted by an enormous majority for a single seat (Brussels) for parliament. The European Parliament operates 4 days per month in Strasbourg, France, which means that all the administrative and supporting staff has to travel to the French city every month. The carries of tonnes of paperwork wastes €200m of taxpayers’ money every year. It also creates 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The single seat will save millions of Euros.
- On 27 March 2012, the European Commission published a Eurobarometer survey on the importance of small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the transition to green economy. The report addresses three core themes: resource efficiency, green markets and green jobs and found that SMEs’ contribution is essential.
- On 21 March 2012, the European Commission proposed new rules to increase the protection of workers temporarily posted abroad. The Directive pays particular attention to to the specific situation of the construction sector. The new Directive aims to reinforce the previous Directive (1996).
- On 21 March 2012, The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee adopted the draft regulation to modernise the European Standardisation process. MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) emphasized the need to improve the participation of small and medium business (SMEs) participation in the standardisation process, especially at national level, where they can be more effective. The committee will decide at the end of April when to open formal negotiations with the Council.
- On 20 March 2012, the European Parliament held a public hearing on public procurement. The Internal Market Committee, who is responsible for drafting the Parliament report, met with several experts to discuss how to make the current rules simpler and more efficient. Furthermore, on 21 March, in the framework of FOCOPE, BIBM met with the responsible deputies and explained the position of our industry.
- On 8 March 2012, the European Parliament Environmental Committee discussed how the EU can use water management to fight poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change. Due to climate change, draughts and water scarcity will affect badly the energy sector and agriculture, amongst others. The Parliament intends to prepare a parliamentary resolution on the issue to prepare to the future challenges and to build up a more efficient policy framework.
- On 12 March 2012, Eurostat published the first estimate for the fourth quarter of 2011 EU27 current account. The released figures show that the EU 27 external current account recorded a surplus of 4.4 billion euro compared with a deficit of 21.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010.
- On 9 March 2012, the Council of the Europen Union held its Environmental Council, where Poland refused to agree to additional reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the Union beyond 2020.
NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS
VM Bjerget – Denmark
VM Bjerget, a newly build residential building in the Ørestad district in Copenhagen, won the Precast Price 2011 in Denmark. It has 80 apartments and 480 parking spots. It is designed by the world famous Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (architectsBIG ) and recently it has also won the prize for best housing at the World Architecture Awards in Barcelona in 2011.
3 April 2012
BIBM Product Group Hollowcores
13 April 2012
European Construction Forum
17 April 2012
BIBM Board meeting
26-27 April 2012
CEN/TC 229 Plenary Meeting
4 May 2011
BIBM Communication Commission
12-15 May 2012
24 May 2012
BIBM General Assembly
31 May 2012
ECP Board and General Assembly
CEPMC Sustainability WG
6 June 2012
CEPMC CPR WG
14 June 2012
Sustainable Concrete Forum
19 June 2012
BIBM Environmental Commission
25 June 2012
Conference on CPR (Construction Products Regulation)