In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, that is the clay brick and roofing tile industry, have again proven ourselves to be an anchor of stability in Germany and Europe. In light of supply bottlenecks at construction sites and, in some cases, substantial price fluctuations, it makes me proud to say that we have been able to maintain supply of our products at affordable levels. This is also shown by looking at current economic developments in Germany: in the masonry bricks segment, a sales increase of 3.2 percent could be generated in the first three quarters of the past year. The clay roofing tile market continued its ongoing recovery with a strong rise of 6.8 percent.
Unfortunately, we cannot rest on these figures. On the contrary, the exploding energy costs bring a risk of considerable upheaval in the industrial landscape. The efforts of the EU Commission and Federal German government to become climate-neutral as fast as possible call for considerable investments in the industry. Yes, we are willing to go down this road, but – especially in view of the potentially record electricity and gas prices – we need planning reliability and political support.
All the more important, therefore, is systematic development of association work – both with our European brick association, the TBE in Brussels, and with the Federal Association in Berlin. 2021 was a very challenging year, here. The proposals for the EU Commission’s FitFor55 programme or the European Guidelines on Aid for Energy alone are endangering the competitiveness of our industry. It is becoming increasingly clear that in the meantime it is the European level, which affects us all equally, that is dominating the industry- and energy-policy decisions. Now, we have to keep at it so that in this period of transformation, in which quite radical voices are taking part in the discourse, we don’t get left by the wayside. European and national roadmaps to decarbonization form a good foundation for this as does our political visibility in Brussels and in the member countries. Clay bricks and roofing tiles have their individual strengths, that applies equally for roofs as well as monolithic and double-leaf walls. Accordingly, I should like to ask the industry and you, dear readers, to continue working together to make the brick and roofing tile industry fit for the future.
2022 will be a doubly special year for the brick and tile industry in Germany. Besides the 100-year anniversary of the first brick standard, we are already very much looking forward to welcoming our European partners to the TBE Congress in Berlin in June 2022. At this third attempt in COVID-19 times, we are hopeful that we shall manage that.
I wish you interesting reading and a successful brick year in 2022!
Yours Stefan Jungk
President of the Federal Association of the German Brick and Tile Industry