EU design policy ‘will create jobs’

The formation of EU design policy will result in more jobs for designers, according to president of the Bureau of European Design Associations Jan Stavik.

The newly elected Beda president, who last weekend replaced Michael Thomson (, 16 March), is convinced that the organisation’s continued European political focus will result in more jobs for designers, ‘lifting their ability and focus’.

Stavik’s comments come ahead of next month’s Staff Working Paper – a precursor to a European consultation paper – which is expected to lead to the formation of EU design policy later this year.

This, he says, concurring with newly elected Beda vice-president and Design Business Association chief executive Deborah Dawton, will result in EU directives for design in industry, in particular innovation, as well as the ‘strategic potential to unlock funds’ for related schemes.

Dawton says, ‘One of the questions could relate to how design can have an impact on the economic climate, and the potential for design to help in this way. It might be that organisations could apply for funding to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the take-up of design.’

The run-up to the consultation paper, Stavik says, will involve canvassing grassroots members of individual countries’ organisations for reactions to the Staff Working Paper, with a timeframe of about two months. If reactions are substantial, a formal consultation paper will be issued, and it is this which will form the basis for EU design policy.

The entire process could take several months, during which time the governance of the European Commission, with which Beda has worked hard to establish links, could change. If vice-president Günter Verheugen is replaced, it could mean working to re-establish the importance of design with a ‘new ear’, says Stavik.

Compiling statistics demonstrating the effectiveness of design in improving businesses, as well as mapping out who designers are and what they do, are also among the EU-level design issues Beda is looking to tackle.

Under Stavik, Beda will establish working committees with a particular focus. For example, EU design policy process will form one – with outgoing president Thomson continuing his work in this area – while design education and the design practice will form others.

What Beda does

• Works towards an EU design policy which could result in EU directives for design in industry, as well as the unlocking of funds

• Maps out who designers are and what they do for the EU economy

• Works towards consistency across EU countries, compiling statistics on how design makes businesses more competitive and profitable

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