ECMA 55th anniversary: ‘Bucharest is in a country full of contradictions’

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Andreas Blaschke, president, ECMA
Andreas Blaschke, president, ECMA

Related tags European union Europe

The European Carton Maker’s Association (ECMA) opened its 48th Congress in Bucharest, Romania, today (September 10), under the theme ‘One Europe; Embrace Multiple Realities’. 

Members from afar as Brazil (KLABIN), Canada (Cascades), Israel (HP Indigo), the US and Japan (Furubayashi Shiko) are attending the event, which will explore East and West, human realities, regulations, technology and people and economical aspects related to the carton industry. 

First time ECMA Congress is in Bucharest

Andreas Blaschke, president, ECMA, (Mayr-Melnhof Packaging), opened the congress and said it was the first time it had held the event in Romania. 

Our selection of Bucharest as a destination for the 48th​ edition of the Congress should be understood as a clear support of this country​,” he said. 

For most of the people here today it is the first time they have visited the country as it is not exactly on the main travel route within our industry. It is the sixth largest city in the European Union with a turbulent history typical of most countries in Central and Eastern Europe​. 

When travelling through Europe you cross many frontiers, you meet people with different languages, history and cultural background, religion and economical variations. But, it is also one united Europe we live in​. 

“This year’s theme focuses on the realities we are facing in Europe. Food safety is one of the top issues on our industry’s agenda but also European payment conditions and sustainability, ensuring the environmental sustainability of our products and processes, taking care of our social responsibility towards people and society, encouraging innovation in products and productivity and supporting a healthy bottom line on company annual accounts​.” 

Guest, Bogdan Tache, president, Mayr-Melnhof Packaging, Romania, said there were a lot of contradictory realities in Romania which residents lived with on a daily basis. 

The country has the highest number (95%) of ownership of homes in Romania but the second lowest economy of Europe​,” he added. 

Bucharest contradictory realities

We have the highest broadband internet connection in Europe, but the lowest computer penetration per capita. The largest natural forest of Europe which is still untouched but we don’t exploit that correctly. We have a lot of resources, but the lowest natural mineral water consumption in Europe​. 

We were the first city in Europe to have electric street light lighting, but today there are over 2,000 villages, which still don’t have electricity connection​.” 

Congress moderator Tony Hitchin, The Hitchin Consultancy, UK, said there are 51 countries in Europe now and 28 in the European Union. 

Romania joined in 2007, and most recently Croatia two years ago. 

Blaschke added it was not easy to predict the state of the industry because there are big differences between geographies, market segments and countries. 

There are huge challenges out there but our product is of a vital necessity to our customers. The number of people joining ECMA is rising and consumers like cartons which is a good sign for the future​,” he said. 

Related topics Processing & packaging

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