Reacting to the first speech on the State of the Union by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, BusinessEurope welcomed her strong commitment to making Europe better, more competitive and able to lead but urged the Commission to focus much more on the “how” to achieve these goals. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: "All the Commission actions during the next year must focus on how to make sure that the financial package, agreed in July to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, reaches companies and workers rapidly, is invested in the right projects and is flanked by the necessary reforms to generate the growth necessary to recover from today's crisis, repay EU debt and make the life of future generations better." - Read more
How can the EU strengthen its foreign economic diplomacy and counter the extraterritorial impact of third-country sanctions? In a new position paper released today, the business community proposes measures in 5 key areas. The paper discusses a series of targeted, workable measures to help EU companies impacted by foreign sanctions regimes. Specifically, the EU Blocking Statute Regulation, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), as well as efforts to reinforce the international role of the euro in international payments. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: "Sanctions should remain a foreign policy tool to be used in exceptional cases. Unfortunately, sanctions are increasingly being used to pursue economic objectives. With this position paper BusinessEurope aims to launch a discussion on the tools the EU can use to effectively protect its interests and those of its companies in cases where sanctions by third countries undermine our economic interests."
Industrial production in the EU27 rose by 11% and retail sales increased by 16% from April to May in a clear sign that the economic recovery is now underway, with lockdowns having been gradually eased across Europe. However, the speed and trajectory of the recovery remains highly uncertain and subject to second-wave flare-ups of the epidemic. Industrial production in the EU27 in May was 21% below its May 2019 level, whilst retail turnover was 4% below the May 2019 level, suggesting that more export-oriented sectors are particularly affected as global trade and growth remain heavily suppressed as a result of the pandemic. Whilst recent agreement on an ambitious Next Generation EU recovery plan offers immediate respite, policy-makers at all levels must remain committed to supporting the recovery with a focus on job creation and growth-enhancing policies and reforms to ensure a full and speedy recovery.
On 16 July, BusinessEurope published its position paper "EU and USA: how to build a positive agenda". When releasing the paper Markus J. Beyrer, Director General said it is even more important for Europe and the USA, he added, to lay the foundation for a renewed and even stronger relationship. Having a formal, high-level platform for strategic dialogue on trade and economic cooperation, spanning across changing US administrations and EU institutional cycles. It is time for the EU to adopt a coherent and proactive strategy vis-à-vis the United States: our position paper presents concrete policy proposals that we hope will contribute to build a positive transatlantic agenda. The document outlines short-term and long-term objectives for three streams of work, focusing on the bilateral agenda, on how the European Union and the United States can work more closely together on multilateral issues, and finally, on the unilateral dimension - the impact that laws adopted on either side can have on transatlantic relations.
Germany, which took over the rotating presidency of the EU on 1 July 2020, has a key role to play in putting the European Union on the right track to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and revitalise economic activity across the continent. In a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European business community expressed support for the 6 main priorities of the German Presidency. We count on Germany to deliver on those priorities by focussing on the following: a determined financial and non-financial European response to the crisis; the Green Deal as a key pillar of the recovery; facilitating innovation; ensuring that member states improve the performance of labour markets; ensuring that basic requirements under the rule of law are respected; international trade continuing to play a key role. EU funds must be used to increase the earning and job creation capacity of European business, and we need to strengthen the European single market. BusinessEurope is looking forward to working constructively with the German Presidency to overcome the crisis and ensure that Europe not only bounces back as rapidly as possible but also that the EU becomes even stronger than before the crisis. - Read the letter
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “In order to minimise long-term scarring to the European economy, the EU and its member states need to progressively reopen their economies and put in place a coordinated economic response to support enterprise investment, consumer demand and employment. All enterprises, including SMEs and services of general interest, need support to recover from the shock of the crisis and become more resilient again. Europe needs a growth strategy including the green and digital transitions but not limited to these two crucial transitions, and improving competitiveness. The European social partners presented today their new autonomous framework agreement on digitalisation. It is important that the Commission fully respects the autonomy of the social partners.” Read more, read the full speech