Mayor, Representatives of the association,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
and our own dear EACD colleagues,
Yesterday, during our General Assembly, you elected me to the
Presidency of the European Association of Building Crafts and Design
for a term of 2 years, and I would like to thank you officially for
your confidence in me.
I would like to take this opportunity to salute my two
predecessors, Franz Bamberger from Austria, and Jürgen Prigl from
Germany, for the work that they have accomplished since EACD was
If I had to make a report, I would say that they have opened our
doors to 15 European countries as members, and have offered 18
hopeful candidates from 12 different nation states top quality
training, and have established lasting contacts between institutions
and government bodies.
The most difficult part of any European project, as is amply
demonstrated by the politicians, is that of bringing people together
and establishing shared ideals about training and self-realization,
and, together with our EACD association, to encourage craft workers
by setting up exchange schemes, and by promoting mobility on the
technological, human and cultural levels.
France is one of the countries which laid the foundations for the
EACD with the Compagnons du Devoir. The Institut Supérieur de
Recherche et de Formation aux Métiers de la Pierre in Rodez represents
the Compagnons du Devoir in the EACD and this institute
is, furthermore, recognised as a hub of innovation by the
[French] Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Compagnons du Devoir are
well known here, in Troyes, since many Compagnons are in charge of
businesses that contribute to the city’s economic development,
notably the SNBR company under the leadership of Philippe Baubrit
and, equally, the Chatignoux company.
The reason why we were so keen to hold our General Assembly here in
France, in Troyes, was not simply on account of our champagne; it was
because we wanted you to discover one of the jewels of our lovely
city – La Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière, which we are so
proud of. A collection that comprises 10,000 tools and 25,000 craft
items which is quite simply unique in Europe. Compagnon Patient
greeted us here last night, along with Mr Ewan Thill and Madame Maud
Lorin from the Chassenay d’Arce Society, and we enjoyed this
opportunity to sample the winemaker’s craft.
The region and city of Troyes are blessed with an exemplary and
extraordinary built heritage, as we were able to see for ourselves
this morning, when Jean Louis Valentin, Compagnon carpenter and
architect, took us on a tour. Many thanks to all these people for
giving us their time.
I would like to point out that Troyes also has a hub of
innovation, in the Institut Universitaire des Métiers du Patrimoine,
which goes to show how deeply this region is imbued with culture.
This is precisely what EACD is about. Our constitution states that
the aim of the association is:
To represent, uphold and promote the interests of the arts and
crafts, and those engaged in the design, construction and
preservation of our heritage with regard to the appropriate European
administrative and policy-making institutions.
An initiative at European level must take culture into account.
Our architectural heritage constitutes a culture that is open to
the crafts, and ideas about crafts.
The EACD is also committed to publishing a book for each tour, the
first volume of which we are delighted to present to you. The second
volume is currently being written.
Our member countries currently number 15 ; Hungary, Latvia, UK,
Switzerland, Austria, Norway, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovakia,
Sweden, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Luxembourg and France. We are
keen to widen this circle and propose the inclusion of Spain,
Portugal and Belgium, three countries which produce stone and hold
their own in the history of construction.
Future projects will also include securing official EU recognition
for our diploma by strengthening our university contacts, and we
welcome suggestions relating to this.
We also want to broaden our experience to include more crafts, and
we made an approach to the Chamber of Carpenters during our General
Assembly in London.
Lastly, and inevitably – I don’t need to remind you that we also
need to finance our projects, to improve the status of our
candidates, which means that we also need to seek funding
opportunities, and here too, we are on the lookout for ideas.
Many thanks to Madame Nicole Machéré; during the [French] National
Congress for the Compagnons stonemasons, I suggested holding our
EACD General Assembly here, in Troyes. We have succeeded in so
doing, and thereby to introduce our guests to our city and the
Maison de l’Outilet de la Pensée Ouvrière.
I would like to thank the Mayor, and hope that this visit has made
our EACD members keen to return to Troyes, and that your city will
be able to welcome a training station based on the Maison de
l’Outilet de la Pensée Ouvrière.