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24Feb94 UK: BEC JOINS WITH SMALLER EURO FIRMS.

The Building Employers Confederation is teaming up with smaller builders across Europe, following its acrimonious departure from the leading European contractors body FIEC last year.The BEC said on Monday that it will join the European Builders Confederation.This was set up by the UK's Federation of Master Builders and includes associations of small and medium contractors from most EU states.The EBC is officially recognised by the European Commission as representing firms which have either fewer than 500 employees, or are worth less than £50 million. These categories include most BEC members.The BEC and the FMB were historically rivals and relations were often frosty. This move furthers the recent thaw which has seen the two bodies producing joint policy.The BEC's largest members will be represented in Europe through the separate European Main Contractors Forum, a body embracing multinational firms.From next Tuesday, BEC members with queries on European issues will have a telephone hotline to the Brussels office of legal firm Masons, a specialist in this field.Masons will monitor EU legislation for the BEC and help it with lobbying. This work will be shared with the Brussels-based British Business Bureau.BEC chairman Jim Kane said: 'We are absolutely confident that the moves we are making will enable BEC to have a stronger voice and improved lobbying capacity in the key European institutions.'The BEC quit FIEC claiming that it was expensive, ineffective, preoccupied with social events and had failed to influence the European Commission. CONSTRUCTION NEWS