The Belgian economy has suffered a number of setbacks lately, with a surge in the number of bankruptcies and multinationals deciding to transfer their production to other countries. However, there peares to be strong future in the renewable energy sector.
The decision of Ford Europe to shift the production of its Genk plant to Spain will probably lead to 10,000 jobs being shed in Flanders. In Wallonia, there are massive job losses in the steel industry. High wage and energy costs are cited as negative factors, although the decision of Ford Genk probably had nothing to do with the cost of labour (in Germany, this is said to be higher, and the Ford plants in Germany remain open).
A solution may lie in the area of sustainable energy. Experts think that a concerted drive towards green technologies create up to 30,000 new jobs in this sector.
The Renewable Energy Club (REC) represents, supports and promotes 101 Belgian companies that focus on solar energy, wind energy, low-energy building, energy efficiency, renewable heat technologies, biomass, smart transformers etc. This sector has a lot of potential, they argue.
It is suggested that the sacked workers in Genk could find a new job by maintaining wind mills for example. Vocational training and re-education could be kept to a minimum, as the Ford workers already have a lot of technical skills.
They could also easily be employed to manufacture new wind turbines. Renewable energy offers a future and can provide new jobs with a long-term prospect.