“We are two weeks before crucial European elections. Europe’s achievements must not be taken for granted”, said BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz, speaking at a roundtable on day 2 of the European Business Summit in Brussels together with Bernard Gilliot, President of FEB-VBO, Henryka Bochniarz, President of Lewiatan, and Fredrik Persson, Chair of Swedish Enterprise. The EU single market, international trade, our common values, innovation, climate and the environment, employment, digitalisation… “We should be more engaged, communicate and explain Europe better”, he stressed, outlining the business ambition for 2030: an EU that is strong and setting the agenda in the world, an EU that is a global leader in innovation, digitalisation and sustainability; an EU that is functioning efficiently; an EU that is economically cohesive and socially inclusive. “We need Europe to transform threats in opportunities”, Gattaz underlined.
EU should rebalance trade and become climate neutral
Today, BusinessEurope published its two new strategy papers on energy and climate policies and on trade policy, proposing adjustments to current EU policies. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “The European business community stands behind the EU ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Whether climate neutrality is possible by around mid-century in order to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5°C will depend on meeting a set of crucial framework conditions and actions. In global trade, our top priorities are rebalancing the EU relations with China and the US, promoting a reformed and more effective World Trade Organisation and pursuing ambitious trade and investment negotiations that restore the level playing field for European companies while allowing more people to benefit from trade.”
Please see a short video statement and a press release.
“Europe retains many world-leading firms but Europe’s performance in developing more of them is insufficient. Since 2010, the EU has created only 29 Unicorns with market valuations of more than $1 Billion compared to 139 in the USA and 81 in China”, BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz said at a press breakfast ahead of the EU summit and the Tripartite Social Summit. He warned: “Europe today is home to only 24% of the global economy’s most profitable firms, compared to 36% in the late 1990s.” The EU should better support its companies in their efforts to invest, innovate, create jobs and upgrade labour skills. Presenting our Reform Barometer 2019, he indicated governments had failed to step up their reform efforts. Only 20% of essential economic reforms recommended by the EU would have been properly implemented. In view of the European elections in May 2019, BusinessEurope together with its EU Social Partners ETUC, CEEP and SMEunited published a joint statement, underlining that “the EU project has to remain resilient and strong and we, the European Social Partners, believe that it can continue to help us to face our challenges and design a brighter future for Europe, its citizens, workers and enterprises”. See also our business message for the 2019 European elections.
At B20 Summit in Tokyo, Japan, global business leaders of the private sector's voice of the G20 economies warned against the rise in protectionism around the world and the increasing opposition to trade. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “We must avoid trade conflicts where each side tries to play by its own rules. A ‘winner takes it all’ attitude will end in a battlefield of losers on all sides. Trade wars are extremely dangerous for companies around the world, which are relying on global value chains and the ability to choose from the best and most competitive goods and services. We need to make sure that protectionism and unilateralism will not become the ‘new normal’. The World Trade Organisation is a central pillar of today’s rules-based trading order. We need to reform it, make it more effective and able to respond to challenges posed by state-centric economies, including subsidies and the prominent role of state-owned enterprises.” Read our press release and B20 Joint Recommendations "Society 5.0 for SDGs".
“Recent months have reminded us of the fragility of the EU economy, with lower business growth and confidence,” commented BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer at the Macroeconomic Dialogue meeting at political level today. “This should be a wake-up call to EU leaders regarding the need to strengthen the resilience of the EU economy and raise our long-term growth potential. Businesses are looking to Member States to step up their implementation of growth-enhancing structural reforms.” The Macroeconomic Dialogue provides a forum for exchanging views between the European Commission, Council, European Central Bank and social partners. Council press release
SMEs are one of Europe’s best assets to seize the major opportunities brought by the current changes we are living at the technological, political and economic levels. "The EU SME policy has delivered a number of very encouraging outcomes, yet this is not enough", Director General Markus J. Beyrer said during the conference "What do SMEs expect from the future EU SME policy?" on 19 February in Brussels. "Today we call for strengthening the EU SME policy", he added; "a massive job remains to be done". At the event, BusinessEurope presented its latest memorandum calling for fresh measures on the EU SME policy action agenda. Other panellists included Sandra Gallina, Deputy Director General of DG Trade, together with other key representatives from the European Commission and Parliament, entrepreneurs and CEOs. Memorandum - Programme - Photos
Business leaders from major world economies met in Delhi, India, on 11 and 12 February and agreed that trade and digitalisation should remain top priorities for the international business community in 2019. "Business is very concerned by increasing trade tensions around the world and unilateral actions that are threatening the multilateral trading system and the WTO", said Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General. Digitalisation, he added, enables trade and brings new business opportunities for many companies, especially SMEs in manufacturing and services sectors. "We need rules and standards that support the digital economy and address increasing threats like cybercrime. We must be aware of measures that limit data flows and promote forced data localisation", Beyrer said. Read more