The EU Competitiveness Council conclusions on “A future EU industrial policy strategy” are a strong political signal that the status quo is not trusted to lead to a revival of the EU’s industrial base. Despite more positive headline economic figures, EU industry still faces severe handicaps to perform on global markets. The EU’s share in global manufacturing exports declined by nearly 7% since 2004, by far the sharpest loss of global trade in manufactured goods. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope said: “Today’s conclusions of the Competitiveness Council are an important milestone. It shows how serious Member States are on the importance for the EU to re-launch an industrial strategy. We are extremely grateful that the Maltese EU presidency put so much effort into this process. Now we expect a determined follow-up from the European Commission”. Read more
BusinessEurope welcomes the visit to Brussels of President Donald Trump as an opportunity for European and US leaders to discuss the Transatlantic relation and ways to reinforce a close and mutually beneficial partnership. The EU and the US have the largest and most integrated trade and investment relation in the world. In 2015, the EU’s FDI stock in the US reached € 2,561 billion - about eight times more than the EU investment in China and India combined. Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope said: “The EU and the US are long-standing partners with a shared view on the importance of democracy, rule of law and open societies. We have been strongly engaged in fighting climate change and promoting free and fair trade. The first official visit of President Donald Trump in Brussels is a unique opportunity to re-state our common goals and find new ways of working together”.
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer was, together with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos Jurado, among the keynote speakers of the European Business Summit closing plenary. “What happens outside Europe will be increasingly important, 90% of global economic growth in the next 10-15 years is expected to be generated outside Europe,” said Beyrer. “Protectionism is not the solution. We need a barrier free single market and rules based international open trade, with reciprocal market access,” he added.
“Compared to last year, today a more positive mood is emerging”, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said at the opening plenary session of the European Business Summit in Brussels. “We clearly have a lot to do to preserve our ‘European way of life’, but we are more confident in our ability to cope”, she added. “And I see two main reasons for it. One is a more resilient economy, with both business confidence and economic indicators pointing to an improvement. The second is the political situation in Europe and a growing support for the EU among citizens.” Fixing the damage caused by years of blame game will take time. “We must start immediately”, Emma concluded, “there is no time to waste.” Photos
The 12th edition of the European Business Summit started today in Egmont Palace, Brussels around the theme “What’s next for Europe?”. The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the future of the European Union. How can we make companies more competitive? How to stop and reverse the decline of manufacturing in Europe? How to catch up with countries leading the digital revolution? Nationalism and protectionism are real threats casting long shadows on the European project, so what can be the new, pro-European narrative making this project attractive and exciting again for Europe’s citizens? These and other topics will be thoroughly discussed along the two-day event – where BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia and Director General Markus J. Beyrer are among the keynote speakers. Photos
“BusinessEurope follows these negotiations very closely; we believe there is a lot of potential for both sides in an ambitious and comprehensive free-trade agreement”, Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said at an EU-Japan breakfast meeting on 17 May. For European business, this means an ambitious chapter on market access, a good agreement on non-tariff barriers, adequate protection of geographical indications, a far-reaching chapter on public procurement, and including a strong mechanism of regulatory cooperation. Improved access to services and investment is also crucial. Yoichi Suzuki, the chief trade negotiator for Japan, subsequently highlighted that the EU is an ideal partner for Japan and has an ideal model of trade liberalisation and concern for consumer safety. “The current uncertainties in the global trading system”, Mr Beyrer concluded, “imply that our agreement will also help reinforce the message that we stand for open and rule-based trade”. The breakfast discussion was co-hosted by BusinessEurope and the Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE). Photos
On 12 May, Director General Markus J. Beyrer spoke at a two-day conference on a “Digital Strategy for Greece – Path to Growth” organised by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in Athens. His panel discussed the critical steps and prerequisites for a successful Digital Strategy Transformation Roadmap in Greece and the role of the Digital Single Market. DG Beyrer particularly stressed the importance for national strategies to be tailored to suit local needs, cooperate and learn from other national strategies and at the same time to understand the global potential and relevance of the actions taken at a European level. Photos - Video of the discussion - Interview
Today the European Commission launched the mid-term review of the digital single market (DSM) strategy. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “We support the mid-term review as an opportunity to focus on the fundamental objectives of the strategy and create a competitive digital single market that benefits citizens and businesses globally. This review can bring a breakthrough and make the digital single market a reality.” Europe also needs to adopt an innovation-friendly approach to empower the digitalisation process and allow companies to compete globally, foster the creation of new business models and ensure a level playing field, with legal certainty and stability.
The Germany B20 Summit that took place in Berlin on 2 and 3 May was the culmination of almost a year’s efforts of the business community to prepare recommendations on a broad global agenda, including on Digitalisation, Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency, Employment & Education and SMEs. Emma Marcegaglia, BusinessEurope’s President, was the Chair of the Trade and Investment Taskforce and delivered the policy paper “Creating Benefits for All Driving Inclusive Growth through Trade and Investment” to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a dedicated leaders session. In particular, the B20 Trade and Investment policy paper calls for (1) strengthening an open and inclusive trading system, (2) making use of digital trade potential and (3) fostering investment facilitation. Commenting on the policy paper, Emma Marcegaglia stated: “Today we passed a strong message against protectionism, in favour of more sustainable and inclusive trade policies. We believe that our recommendations will contribute to this goal. The key is now in the hands of the G20 to deliver.” The B20 Trade and Investment policy paper may be found here.
Today the European Commission presented a “Compliance Package”, containing proposals to improve the functioning of SOLVIT, to set up a Single Digital Gateway and to put in place a Single Market Information Tool (SMIT). BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “We support the initiative for a Single Digital Gateway proposed in today’s Compliance Package. The portal should offer companies all the information and assistance they need to operate throughout the EU Single Market. If well-designed, this tool can really help companies to do business abroad, especially SMEs and start-ups.”