Background & Objectives

In 2007 the European Commission launched its EU Lead Market Policy. This policy called for an identification of promising markets in which European industry enjoys an early-leading or growth promising position and then to support these markets through pro-active demand-side policy measures to accelerate innovative product or service adoption and general market growth on a global level.

Following this call the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP) launched an internal survey to identify suitable textile-related lead market candidates. This led to the eventual endorsement by the Textile ETP's  industry-led Governing Council of “Intelligent Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment” as a proposal to the European Commission.

In its December 2007 Communication entitled „A lead market initiative for Europe“ the European Commission set the political and operational framework for the Lead Market Initiative and identified six market areas which it considered the most promising from a total list of over twenty proposal for lead market ideas received in response to its call.

The following six markets areas were identified and described in more detail in the Communication:

  • eHealth
  • Bio-based products
  • Recycling
  • Construction
  • Renewable energies
  • Protective Textiles & Clothing

The Communication concluded that those areas each present a significant potential for global market leadership by European companies based on important scientific and technological developments achieved by European researchers. During the first half of 2008 a detailed implementation roadmap for each of the six lead markets was developed which foresaw a three-year time horizon for implementation of the various action points.

These action points included:

  • More coordination and stronger SME involvement in European standardisation work
  • Technical harmonisation
  • Networking and best practise exchange between contracting authorities involved in public procurement of protective textiles and clothing to stimulate more innovation through this channel
  • Intensified research and development work through collaborative project funding by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7)
  • Networking of the entire PPE value chain including end users across Europe through conferences and workshops

Starting from mid-2008 work in all these areas was undertaken through actions led and funded by the European Commission, such as the Enprotex project or seven protective textiles research projects under FP7 or through industry's own initiative such as the organisation of two PPE lead market conferences in 2008 and 2011 or the set-up of a coordination group between all PPE-related technical committees of the European standardisation body CEN.

Most work from the industry side was closely coordinated between the European Apparel and Textile Confederation – EURATEX, the European Safety Federation – ESF and the European Textile Services Association – ETSA.




Events & Activities

  • First half of 2008: meetings with the European Commission and various industry and other stakeholder representatives to define a common action plan
  • July 2008: EC publishes a call for proposal for PPE-related collaborative research projects under the 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7)
  • November 2008: EC publishes a call for proposals for establishment of European public procurement networks to foster innovative public procurement in the 6 EU lead markets
  • December 2008: 1st PPE Lead Market Conference organised at Hengelo, Netherlands, 160 participants
  • March 2009: Publication of PPE Technology Roadmap resulting from the Hengelo Conference
  • June 2009: EC selects 7 research projects for funding under the FP7 Programme in a braod range of PPE products and market applications
  • September 2009: EC decision to fund the Enprotex project for establishment of European public procurement networks to foster innovative public procurement of PPE for fire fighters and first responders
  • December 2009: EC workshop for mid-term assessment of progress of EU lead market for protective textiles and clothing in Brussels
  • February 2010: EC workshop for mid-term assessment of progress of EU lead market policy in Brussels
  • 1st half of 2010: 7 PPE research projects and Enprotex project start (average duration 3 years)
  • February 2011: 2nd PPE Lead Market Conference in Brussels, 220 participants
  • 1st half of 2011: Assessment study of success of EU lead market policy
  • October 2011: Presentation of final EU lead market policy assessment and discussion of future EU innovation policy strategy at conference organised by the Polish EU Presidency in Warsaw
  • December 2011: 1st ENPROTEX conference in Brussels
  • November 2012: start of the Smart@Fire project
  • December 2012: 2nd ENPROTEX conference in Brussels
  • 1st half of 2013: Smart@Fire end user specifications development
  • Sept-Oct. 2013: Smart@Fire market consultations
  • December 2013: 3rd ENPROTEX conference in Brussels
  • June 2014: Launch of Smart@Fire PCP tender
  • November 2014: 3rd PPE Lead Market Conference combined with ENPROTEX annual conference in Brussels, 200 participants

Information & Resources

European Commisson website about the EU Lead Market for Protective Textiles & Clothing

Website of Enprotex - public procurement network

Website of the 3rd PPE Conference Nov. 2014