The UK has now notified officially its decision to leave the European Union and triggered article 50. BusinessEurope and its 40 member federations from 34 European countries have published a “Preliminary reaction to the triggering of Article 50”. BusinessEurope stands ready to play a constructive role in the search of solutions to establish a sound and balanced new model for EU-UK relations. It is in the interest of both the European Union and the United Kingdom to pursue mutually beneficial relations in the future, in a level playing field environment. The exit of the UK from the EU must be smooth. Negotiations should be led in a true spirit of partnership and mutual loyalty.
The EU heads of state or government met in Rome on 25 March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. BusinessEurope handed over its declaration, outlining the business vision on the future of the European Union, to the Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni and to the President of the European Council Tusk. BusinessEurope President Marcegaglia said: “As entrepreneurs, we stand ready to work for a better European Union that delivers for citizens and for companies. We need strong leadership in Europe and a clear vision of the way forward. Europe is one of the best places in the world to live and work. Only courageous common answers to the multiple challenges facing us will bring citizens’ confidence and economic success.” At a special EU social partners summit we met the President of the European Commission Juncker and shared a joint statement setting out the common views of employers and trade unions and their strong belief in the European project. See quotes and testimonies from European business leaders on the achievements of European integration. Photos - Video
Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, is in Japan for a number of meetings with high level Japanese Government officials including State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Kentaro Sonoura and Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Keiichi Katakami to discuss the EU-Japan FTA negotiations. Mr. Beyrer is also speaking at a high level Conference on Japan, US and EU economic relations.
BusinessEurope welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe coming to Brussels as an occasion for European and Japanese leaders to discuss bilateral and global issues, including our free-trade negotiations. In times when some politicians start refusing to support open markets and global trade, the European Union and Japan have a unique opportunity to show that trade can deliver for all and remain an engine of economic growth. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said: “We believe that concluding a trade agreement between the EU and Japan in 2017 is a very realistic possibility. Both sides have come far since the negotiations first began.” Read more
Photo copyright: JBCE
“Circular economy can be a game changer. It has the potential to become a real growth driver, and this requires a complete rethinking of how we shape our economy. BusinessEurope is setting up a web platform to showcase good practices among Europe’s industry and to engage in a dialogue on the challenges”, Beyrer said at a meeting with Ms Adina Ioana Vãlean, the new chairperson of the ENVI committee of the European Parliament. They also touched upon the ongoing REACH review, international developments on climate change and the forthcoming negotiations on the reform of the EU emission trading scheme (ETS). On the latter, Beyrer stressed that “any increase in ambition to boost the carbon price must be accompanied by more focus on making sure the best in class gets enough free allowance through a 5% points shift.”
The Netherlands have voted in support of solution-oriented politics. Polarising people and the use of anti-European rhetoric didn’t convince the large majority of Dutch voters. That’s an important message and encouraging in view of the upcoming elections. The European business community sees the Dutch vote as an important signal for Europe.
We congratulate Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the result of the Dutch election.
At the Tripartite Social Summit, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said: “Europeans are faced with unprecedented challenges: in the international environment, in upcoming Brexit negotiations, regarding employment, security, migration, etc. Member states acting alone will not be able to respond effectively to these challenges. They must stay united.” The European Commission, she added, should also not lose sight of the fact that the EU is a good place to live and work. "The EU is the region in the world where social well-being is the highest.” The Tripartite Social Summit is a bi-annual meeting under the joint leadership of the European social partners, the European Commission and the European Council right before the European Council meetings in March and October. This meeting focused on "The future of Europe: charting the course towards growth, employment and fairness". Photo copyright: European Union. Speech - Press release
Industrial policy, trade and investment are key for growth, competitiveness and job creation in Europe and to take the European project forward. This is what BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia and Director General Markus J. Beyrer discussed with the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, on 8 March 2017. Presidents Tajani and Marcegaglia and Director General Beyrer agreed on the imperative need for a European industrial policy to attract more investment in Europe. The European industrial policy should mobilise different tools at national and European level: completion of the single market, economic governance, structural reforms, trade policy, etc. Free trade based on respect of rules and fair competition is key. Trade is the engine of prosperity for the European companies and citizens, and the EU should remain open to partners willing to share its values and vision about open global trade. President Tajani and President Marcegaglia both underlined that, now more than ever, for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Treaty of Rome, European unity is needed. Photo copyright: European Union 2017 / EP
After nine months of negotiations, EU employers and trade unions approved a framework agreement on active ageing and an intergenerational approach. The agreement is to ensure a healthy, safe and productive working environment and work organisation to enable workers of all ages to remain in work until legal retirement age. BusinessEurope, UEAPME, CEEP and the ETUC signed and handed over the agreement to European Commission President Juncker, European Council President Tusk and the Maltese Prime Minister Muscat on Wednesday 8 March during a signature ceremony. When signing this agreement on behalf of BusinessEurope, President Emma Marcegaglia said: “This agreement is a positive outcome demonstrating the added value of the European social dialogue to find adaptable solutions to important EU challenges taking into account diverse national labour markets contexts. It will make an important contribution to facing demographic challenges and help achieve longer working lives across Europe”. Read more - Agreement - Press release - Photos
BusinessEurope’s EU Reform Barometer 2017, published today, shows that reform implementation remains too slow in many EU Member States, with only 17% of the country-specific reform recommendations (CSRs) regarded as implemented satisfactorily, even poorer than our observations for 2015 (20%) and 2014 (22%). Markus J Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope said: “While it is clear that the EU economy has picked up momentum recently, growth has been largely supported by temporary factors such as the ECB’s monetary support. Whether due to the electoral cycle or complacency, many Member States are taking their foot off the reform throttle. They slow down at exactly the time of rapid changes in the global economy and when Europe’s competitiveness challenges and public finances problems persist.”