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The WTO brings concrete advantages for companies, it provides legal certainty and stability in times of geopolitical tensions and increasing risks. At an event organised by BusinessEurope, the Confederation of Swedish Business and the US Chamber on the margins of the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), businesses from Europe and the USA highlighted the importance of the WTO in preventing non-tariff and tariff barriers and allowing for the development of more resilient value chains. The WTO needs to remain effective through enforceable rules, that support innovation and adjust to today’s digital and green transformation. The business community is keen to see an extension of the e-commerce moratorium, concrete actions to address the appellate body blockage, rules that protect intellectual property and address increasing subsidisation and advances in the plurilateral negotiations.


Today, industry leaders convened in Antwerp to discuss how to restore Europe’s competitiveness with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. At the summit organised by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer emphasised the imperative of firm political commitment to a European Industrial Deal to complement the Green Deal, and foster a more competitive, resilient and sustainable Europe. He specifically addressed the issue of long and complex industrial permitting in the EU. “According to our recent survey, for more than 8 in 10 companies the time it takes to secure permits is a barrier to investing in Europe. We need structural changes now.”



The 13th WTO Ministerial meeting kicks off on 26 February 2024. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer explains what European business expects from it.


"In today’s very competitive global scene, speed is of strategic importance. Long and complex industrial permitting is a bottleneck for companies’ green and digital transformations and the EU’s global competitiveness", President Fredrik Persson said presenting the results of a new study. BusinessEurope has surveyed 240 companies across 21 European countries, with 35% of those being SMEs, about their experiences with EU permitting processes. For example, 83% find the complexity and duration of permitting are an obstacle to investing in the EU; around 60% of responding companies have to wait over a year and up to 6 years for a permitting approval. Companies surveyed report challenges with public authorities – speed and lack of coordination – as well as complications and uncertainty around EU and national regulations. Our key competitors, like the US and China, face challenges in this area as well, but they have specific provisions like time limits to help address some of these difficulties. The EU has also taken steps in the right direction but more needs to be done. "The EU industry needs its 'licence to transform' at speed", Persson concluded. - Read more


BusinessEurope joined the Val Duchesse social partners summit to give a fresh start to the dialogue initiated there by Jacques Delors 39 years ago. “We are fully committed to improving the dialogue between EU leaders and social partners as well as among the social partners”, underlined BusinessEurope President Fredrik Persson and Director General Markus J. Beyrer representing European companies of all sizes at the summit. “For us, social partnership has to be an economic and social partnership. Social progress can only be built on competitiveness and growth”, Persson said. Unfortunately, the latest GDP data confirmed that Europe’s economy is stagnating and lagging behind our key competitors. In 2023, EU GDP grew by only 0.5%, compared with 3.1% growth in the USA. It is crucial that employers, workers and policy-makers join forces to put Europe back in the top spot to work, live and do business. - Read more (Photo © European Union, 2024)


On 24 January, the European Commission proposed five new initiatives to strengthen the EU's economic security. This package of proposals follows the June 2023 Communication on a European Economic Security Strategy. The new set of proposals is comprised of initiatives on strengthening screening of FDI into the EU, ensuring more effective export controls on dual-use items, and launching a discussion on parameters to monitor and assess outbound investment risks, among others. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer commented on the newly proposed package: “Today’s EU economic security package brings much-needed clarity to the Commission Strategy announced in June 2023. We recognise the need for a more European approach on export controls and inbound FDI screening. Closing loopholes through coordinated implementation is vital for mitigating security-related risks and safeguarding the single market.” - Read more

The WTO matters for businesses
Strong industry call for a European Industrial Deal
Video messages
“The time to act is now”
Reports and studies
EU permitting needs urgent reform
Val Duchesse summit: Economic and social progress go hand in hand
Press releases
Economic security - Business welcomes clarity and further debate

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Building on over a decade of experience in developing and disseminating skills and labour market analysis, Cedefop presents its improved skills intelligence tool, which brings together various strands of the Agency’s analytical and research work. With this skills intelligence tool Cedefop aims...

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