The European Construction Sector Observatory (ECSO) is an initiative under COSME. It regularly analyses and carries out comparative assessments on the construction sector in all 27 EU countries and the UK, aiming to keep European policymakers and stakeholders up to date on market conditions and policy developments.
The construction sector plays a significant role in the EU economy (approx. 9% of EU gross domestic product (GDP), 18 million direct jobs and 3 million enterprises) and in achieving key EU policy objectives. In July 2012, the Commission adopted the communication and action plan commonly called 'Construction 2020' with this in mind. Construction 2020 aims to link initiatives at EU, national and industry levels to
- stimulate favourable investment conditions
- improve the human-capital basis of the construction sector
- improve resource efficiency, environmental performance and business opportunities
- strengthen the internal market for construction
- foster the global competitive position of EU construction enterprises
Together with these initiatives, Construction 2020 strengthens the European Commission's actions to stimulate investment in building renovation. Especially for energy efficiency improvements, and the development and maintenance of infrastructure. It also supports efforts addressing the lack of qualified workers, poor attractiveness of the sector to young people, and the ageing of the workforce. In addition, several measures were proposed to improve the internal market's functioning, in particular in terms of administrative simplification and regulatory coherence. Finally, the action plan encourages construction SMEs to internationalise and the EU construction sector to do so concerning international trade negotiations.
The European Construction Sector Observatory serves this purpose with a repository of information related to market trends, industry developments, policy impact and analytical support.
The European Construction Sector Observatory provides European policymakers and stakeholders with regular analysis and comparative assessments of the market conditions and policy developments related to the construction sector in the EU in line with themes in the Construction 2020 action plan.
It continues to support mutual learning and the exchange of best practices between EU countries and stakeholders. The focus of which is on the definition, implementation, monitoring and assessment of the impact of policy measures related to the competitiveness of construction enterprises and their contribution to sustainable development objectives.
The objectives of the European Construction Sector Observatory are to
- monitor market conditions and trends, as well as national/regional strategies and progress towards the five priorities of Construction 2020
- encourage knowledge sharing and the replication of good practice
- raise awareness on policy measures and initiatives impacting the construction value chain
The Observatory is a complementary tool to existing instruments at international, European and national levels, such as EUROSTAT, AMECO, the EU Building Stock Observatory, the SME Performance Review, the European Cluster Observatory, European Central Bank's publications on construction markets, the construction market analysis and forecasts produced by EUROCONSTRUCT and FIEC.