The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has called for immediate action from the EU Commission to support the construction industry through the COVID-19 crisis.

The Federation - whose members are 32 construction associations in 28 countries - said the EU needed to ensure that COVID-19 is considered a force majeure, to eliminate penalties for companies that have to suspend work; and to increase European funds to cover the increased costs of the work.

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FIEC also called for EU member states to allow the possibility of suspending or reducing ongoing construction, without penalties and or damages, if a contractor is unable to comply with the required health and safety measures or if it can’t work because of supply chain issues or illness in its workforce.

The organisation’s third request is for the EU to immediately allocate resources to cover additional costs on projects co-financed by the European Union, to cover items such as extra security on worksites and changes in organisation and new time schedules on worksites. It called on EU member states to do the same at the national level.

”The Covid-19 pandemic is a public health emergency, which is severely impacting economic activity in all the Member States”, said FIEC, ”The construction industry in Europe is essential for the major infrastructure works and projects that promote community wellbeing. It accounts for 9% of EU27 GDP and employs 16 million workers.

”Therefore the negative effects of Covid-19 on the construction industry in Europe are considerable. In these conditions the already complicated management of construction sites is becoming even more complex, if not impossible, when companies try to comply with the new and drastic health and safety measures.

“Construction companies will be heavily affected financially and projects, both private and public, will be delayed or even cancelled.”

FIEC said the three requests were ”the first urgent and indispensable actions that we ask the Commission to implement as quickly as possible. They are the crucial measures that the construction sector needs to survive and continue its contribution to growth and employment in Europe in the coming months.”

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