European Commission Pledges Support for Luxury

Michael Ward named president of EU body, ECCIA.

LONDON — In a bid to ramp up the growth of Europe’s luxury industry over the next seven years, the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance [ECCIA] on Tuesday unveiled a new action plan to support the sector.

Antonio Tajani, vice-president and European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, held a news conference at the Connaught Hotel here.

He set out a number of initiatives to help the European Commission, the body that proposes new legislation to the European Parliament and ensures that EU law is correctly applied, to support the fashion and high-end sectors.

He is proposing to raise the level of industrial activity in European countries; promote co-operation between industry, education and vocational training; fight against counterfeiting; strengthen support for small businesses and improve their access to finance; strengthen dialogues with the E.U.’s key trade partners, and attract tourists from emerging economies such as Russia and China.

“In these times of crisis, what we need is to restore growth based on European values,” Tajani said. “The European high-end cultural and creative industries deserve to be recognized as one of the key sectors of Europe’s industry and key drivers of growth and jobs in Europe.

According to the ECCIA, high-end cultural and creative industries represent three percent of Europe’s GDP and employ over 1.5 million people. The organization also said that European brands represent 70 percent of the global luxury market.

In addition, the ECCIA said Tuesday that it has named Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, as its president, effective Jan. 1.

Ward will succeed the Milan-based consultant Armando Branchini, who has served as president of the organization since 2011. The ECCIA said Branchini would continue to be involved in the organization as a member of the executive team.