"The construction sector is one of the hardest hit by the economic crisis. In four years, shrinking demand - especially for new buildings - and the falling public investments in infrastructures have seriously penalised the construction industry. These were the words of the President of Confindustria, Giorgio Squinzi, at the ERMCO Congress (the association representing the ready mixed concrete industry in European countries as well as relationships with representatives from Israel, Turkey, India, South America, the United States, Russia and Japan.) that opened today at VeronaFiere in collaboration with Ance (National Construction Industry Association) and Atecap (Economic-Technical Association of Ready-Mixed Concrete). Squinzi emphasised that “the last few months have been extremely negative: the volume of activity associated with constructions has fallen by about 30% and only ambitious projects will be able to improv the situation.” In particular, the President of Confindustria highlighted the need to “support European Ten T programmes involving transport infrastructures that were recently updated with new corridors crossing Europe as a whole and Italy in particular.”

“The strategic infrastructural programmes," said the President of ERMCO, Andrea Bolondi, "can potentially become the main market for our industry and are a fundamental lever for economic recovery.” Bolondi, analysing market data, remarked that “in exactly the same way as the construction sector”, the ready mixed concrete market is suffering badly from the economic dynamics that have characterised Europe in recent years. “The crisis has brought about substantial changes as regards production leadership for one of the most widely used materials in the world”. In general terms, production in the European Union fell back by 4.3% between 2009 and 2010, and recovered partially in 2001 with a slight increase of 2.7%. “Yet there are two sides to the coin whereby Europe is divided between countries in North-West and South-East areas with entirely different dynamics. In particular, Germany and France are growing while Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece are falling back. Inasmuch," the President of ERMCO concluded, "we have to manage to combine financial re-equilibrium policies with growth policies.”

As regards the situation in Italy, the President of Atecap, Silvio Sarno, said that “we are faed by a market where the offering is over-sized compared to current and future demand. The sector, as it is currently structured, is unable to tackle the devastating effects of the continuing crisis. The internationalisation of companies is certainly not the way to solve the crisis in the concrete market. Our companies," Sarno pointed out, "have strong links with the local areas where there operate.” In relation to the possible solutions for tackling the economic crisis, the President of Atecap proposed “rationalising the production structure so that the industry becomes better set to respond to the market of the future. We must investigate and promote forms of aggregation and then think about tools such as network contracts and consortia."

“If we are to re-launch the construction field," said the Vice-President of Ance, Gianluigi Coghi, "we need a unitary industrial policy; we have to offer companies assurances and continuity and ensure medium-long terms expectations to justify an effective resumption of investments in the sector. Assurances and continuity are also vital as regards the strategic choices in Italy, a country suffering from infrastructural delays worsening constantly compared to European partners and which significantly penalises market competition." The Vice-President of Ance, mentioning “the recent earthquake in Emilia”, emphasised “the territorial weakness of Italy must be protected to ensure the safety of citizens especially through urban renewal and priority services such as schools.”

“VeronaFiere is the top direct organiser of events in Italy and among the leaders in Europe thanks to international events in the forefront of the construction sector such as Marmomacc and Samoter; it is the ideal stage for the return of the Ermco Congress to Italy after 26 years,” said the President of VeronaFiere. Ettore Riello. “The Verona Exhibition Centre," he went on, "is well aware that ideas are the driving force behind development and innovation and must be turned into effective business and has by now established an impressive role as an independent think tank by flanking its flagship shows with events and training workshops where product culture is in the forefront. As regards Ermco, we are well aware that the building industry has a locomotive effect for many other sectors and is a full-scale booster for the industrial system."