About a hundred Swiss and French entrepreneurs met this Thursday in Mex (VD) to take stock of the industry situation in the Lake Geneva basin. They underlined the importance of the sector for the dynamism of the region.
The business convention of Lake Geneva Union of Chambers of Commerce took place on Thursday in Mex (VD) at the factory of the manufacturer Bobst. It made it possible to exchange face-to-face again, rejoiced the participants, who asked for their needs to be taken into account beyond national systems.
With nearly 250,000 jobs, including 20,000 cross-border workers, the industry sector is of strategic interest for the dynamism of an entire cross-border area of life. The latest indicators predict a stabilization of growth in the industrial sector after the crisis. The support measures in France and Switzerland helped to soften the shock.
However, in this climate of uncertainty, many challenges are posed for its future, in particular that of the machine tool sector. The meetings on Thursday within the Bobst company were organized to stimulate companies’ capacities for innovation and adaptation and to facilitate the search for partnerships. The companies underlined the importance of a climate of confidence and conditions of cooperation likely to reassure them.
The participants in the Convention noted that one of the positive points of the crisis is to have accelerated the digital transition, reported Aude Pugin, president of the Vaud Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Industry must also be considered as a strategic act for the State: training in this area must be upgraded.
President of the Lake Geneva Council, State Councilor Pascal Broulis in charge of Vaud finances noted that one of the strengths of the region during this troubled period is to have a widely diversified economic fabric. “We are still in a good mix, secondary and tertiary education remain very active”.
Community of Destiny
The border area remains open, while many other borders are closed, added the minister who spoke of the community of destiny between Switzerland and France: “We strongly support the other side of the border through wages, but without them, we would be in trouble ”. And to stress that additional barriers must be avoided.
“Watch out for reciprocity in the opening of borders. It is important and fragile, ”said Sylvain Diserens, elected member of the Haute-Savoie Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Keep in mind that the region is a territorial entity.
“After the end of state aid, what will the economy be”? asked Gérard Paoli, vice-president of the Department of Ain, stressing that there are already job losses. We must be optimistic and work more together, he said.
“We are witnessing the resurgence of the nation state. Some countries are taking advantage of the crisis to erect borders ”, noted Vincent Subilia, director of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services. However, the economic basin does not blend with borders.
Flexible framework conditions are necessary, he noted. In Geneva, with the highest minimum wage on the planet, those who already are more precarious, as in the hotel sector, he lamented. He also mentioned the straitjacket that the initiative on responsible multinationals would bring.
Since 1987, the Conseil du Léman has brought together representatives of the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais as well as the departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie.