Around thirty delegates representing eleven European nations took part in the COTANCE General Assembly to discuss the challenges facing the tanning industry in Europe and set a future programme for the COTANCE Secretariat.

In his outgoing speech as President, Rino Mastrotto was critical of the European Commission. “Brussels, rather than supporting us, hinders our efforts for the labeling of origin of Italian leathers and in the struggle against extra-EU protectionist countries benefitting from tariff preferences granted by the European Union”, he said. “I hope that the recent European elections may change the attitude of the Commission”, he added.

Mastrotto also encouraged COTANCE to become more efficient and announced that UNIC, which represents 67% of COTANCE members will be cutting their contribution and will focus on its own national lobbying activities in Brussels instead with an additional €50,000.

A presentation on the current legislative processes at the European Commission by Jean-François Aguinaga, Head of Unit at the European Commission, DG Enterprise, Industry – Textiles, Fashion, Design and Creative Industries. Aguniaga provided an update of the latest EU biocidal regulations, leather authenticity and labeling legislation. He admitted that the EU political process was slow but was optimistic that legislation regarding authenticity may pass through the EC process in 2015 and was 50:50 as to whether it will be become European law.

The meeting was concluded with COTANCE General Secretary, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano Chairing a discussion on the Carbon Footprint Pilot project with the project stakeholders along with COTANCE member countries.