Cedric Janssens, Secretary General of Glass Fibre Europe, was invited to visit the Valmiera Glass plant in Latvia which is our newest member of the association. The trip was truly enlightening, and we are thrilled to share the highlights with you!
We were warmly welcomed by Stefan Jugel, Chairman of the company , who expressed his gratitude for the collaborative efforts between our organizations. It was evident from the outset that this visit would foster strong ties and pave the way for smooth cooperation.
Our first stop was an extensive tour of the VALMIERA GLASS headquarters with Mr Jugel, including its 3 furnaces and downstream activities. Valmiera Glass is one of the leading glass manufacturers in Europe, and its factory in Latvia will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year. Learning about the integration of innovative production technologies and processes over time in this historical European industrial plant was truly fascinating.
The visit was also an opportunity to meet in person with the VALMIERA GLASS employees who will be joining the Glass Fibre Europe’s committees and working groups. Engaging with these talented individuals and understanding their aspirations and challenges will be immensely valuable.
During our open exchanges, we delved into critical issues that demand our attention. We discussed the concerning trend of unfair competition on the European market, its impact on the European glass fibre industry and its value-chains, and the strategic need for Europe to secure its industrial base. Cédric Janssens emphasized the importance of the internal trade pillar to the association and that the very first step to Europe’s Economic Security Strategy must be to restore a level playing field on the European market.
Another pressing topic addressed was the necessity of supporting local production of strategic materials in Europe and the increase in production capacities. The VALMIERA GLASS plant serves as a shining example of the contribution of local producers to the development and uptake of innovative solutions in a variety of industrial markets: thermal and technical insulation, smoke and fire protection, aviation and space, shipbuilding, automotive, architecture and further processing. By promoting local manufacturing, Europe can enhance its supply chain resilience, reduce dependence on external sources in strategic sectors, and foster innovation in key technologies.
This visit to VALMIERA GLASS has been a rewarding experience, filled with enriching discussions and promising collaborations. “I am very grateful to Stefan Jugel and VALMIERA GLASS for organizing this insightful trip, and we are looking forward to working closely with VALMIERA GLASS employees and all our members to address the challenges we face and drive the industry forward in Europe”, said Cédric Janssens.