BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2015-31
President Marcegaglia: “reduce inequalities through higher growth and employment”
“Achieving higher growth and employment is essential to reduce inequalities” BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said on 30 September at the opening gala session of the European Forum for New Ideas in Sopot. “And it is also part of the answer to fight radicalism, which strives on fears about the future and economic uncertainty”. The fifth edition of EFNI is an initiative of BusinessEurope's Polish member, the Polish Confederation Lewiatan. During the closing session on 2 October, a declaration prepared by Lewiatan was handed out to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. In his address, BusinessEurope's Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “Nationalism and restrictions on economic freedoms are not the way forward. To reduce inequalities and tackle radicalism, we need European answers to common challenges. We must re-build Europe’s industry and improve its competitiveness, further develop the single market, create the Energy Union, implement an ambitious international trade policy and devise common solutions to the current asylum crisis.”
Read more or contact: Thérèse de Liedekerke
Markus J. Beyrer discusses ETS reform with ministers
BusinessEurope firmly supports the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as the best instrument to further incentivise carbon emission reduction by the industry. This was a message given on 1 October by Director General Markus J. Beyrer at a lunch of the Competitiveness Council devoted to the EU ETS. 'At the same time', he stressed, 'our companies competing on global markets will be penalised if the amount of free allowances is not sufficient. Increasing the amount is possible. It is not a technical issue. It is a political choice.'
Contact: Alexandre Affre
Discussing corporate tax transparency
Enhanced tax transparency towards tax authorities can both improve tax compliance and ensure appropriate protection of taxpayers' commercially sensitive information. This was the message highlighted by Hans de Boer, President of the Confederation of Netherlands Industries and Employers (VNO-NCW) representing BusinessEurope at a high-level roundtable on 1 October with European Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Hill. Following the launch of a Commission public consultation on further corporate tax transparency, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis had invited representatives from businesses, NGOs and civil society to share their views and experiences in relation to country-by-country reporting. Mr de Boer underlined that business fully shares the objective of fighting fraud and evasion, and emphasised the importance of preserving a level playing field vis-a-vis third-country companies, recalling the OECD-BEPS project conclusions on country-by-country reporting.
Contact: Mafalda Moz Teixeira
Markus J. Beyrer offers reform partnership at trade union congress in Paris
"Europe needs strong trade unions to be able to partner with employers and put in place the structural reforms that are needed across Europe”, BusinessEurope’s Director General Markus J. Beyrer said on 30 September when addressing the 13th Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation – ETUC. This congress is one of the key events organised by ETUC every four years to elect its new leadership. “The kind of structural reforms we should jointly promote are those bringing more competitiveness for companies”, Beyrer added. “This is the way to create more growth and jobs, and sustain our European social model.” BusinessEurope looks forward to cooperating constructively with the new ETUC leadership to strengthen social partnership for growth and jobs across Europe.
Contact: Guillaume Cravero
WTO Public Forum: business remains a strong advocate of multilateral trade
On the positive side, trade is viewed as a means for growth and development that can benefit both developed and developing countries. On the other hand however, there was an overall agreement among participants in the WTO Public Forum (Geneva, 30 September-2 October 2015) that the negotiating pillar of the WTO is not moving fast, holding back progress in the Doha Round negotiations. The World Trade Organisation and its members are currently at a crucial stage in their discussions ahead of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (Nairobi, December 2015), the outcome of which will significantly affect the future of the Doha Round. BusinessEurope participated in a number of meetings and events at the WTO Public Forum. A high-level working session jointly organised by BusinessEurope and the BDI offered participants the opportunity to discuss the benefits of trade to businesses, workers and consumers. Luisa Santos, International Relations Director at BusinessEurope, participated in discussions specifically dedicated to the importance of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the role of global value chains in trade.
Contact: Sofia Bournou
TTIP and opportunities in health care
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may increase the diversity and availability of health care services. The private sector is leader in bringing solutions, investing in research and development and innovating. Patients could benefit from all this, BusinessEurope said at the conference “Free trade agreements: What’s at stake for mutual health funds and health care?” organised at the European Parliament by the National Intermutualist College (Belgium) on 1 October. It is for governments at national and municipal level to decide how health care services are to be provided in their territory: completely publicly, or with participation of private companies. When private providers are allowed to operate, as in some cases already, TTIP will ensure that local and foreign service providers are treated equally in the EU and the USA.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
The European Commission should not reopen the posting of workers directive
Introducing a principle of “the same pay for the same job in the same place” would be an unacceptable and harmful interference from the EU level in national wage-setting mechanisms and in the role of social partners in many member states. Rather, the European Commission and member states should focus their efforts on effective implementation of the 2014 enforcement directive. The European Commission should not reopen the 1996 posting of workers directive as this would stop the ongoing work on implementing the enforcement directive and create a prolonged period of debate and uncertainty. These were the main messages sent by BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer to EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen in advance of a Commission’s orientation debate on the labour mobility package.
Read more or contact: Magdalena Bober
Coalition of European organisations welcomes Parliament’s draft report on occupational pensions
A coalition of European organisations representing pension institutions, EU-level social partners including BusinessEurope and asset and fund managers have welcomed in general the approach taken by the European Parliament rapporteur regarding proposed changes to EU rules for pension funds. The group welcomed the fact that the European Commission’s proposal does not include additional solvency requirements for pension funds, calling on the European Parliament to stick to this. The nine organisations welcomed changes made by the rapporteur to the Commission’s proposal to better acknowledge the specific nature of workplace pensions and the role of social partners, as well as the attempts to make the legislation less prescriptive.
Read more or contact: Rebekah Smith
Helping EU company law going digital
Europe needs to step up its efforts to bring the benefits of digital technology to company law to compete better in the global digital economy. The adoption of the single-member company proposal and swift implementation of the new EU framework of business registers are concrete starting points in achieving this. A World Bank study covering 189 economies shows that 144 of them have introduced online platforms for business incorporation. These digital tools allow for a faster and cheaper incorporation, especially for small start-ups. These messages were emphasised by BusinessEurope Senior Adviser Pedro Oliveira at the conference “Company law in the digital age” organised by the European Commission on 2 October.
Contact: Pedro Oliveira
Making the best of the existing EU health and safety legislation is the right approach
The EU strategic framework for health and safety at work rightly recognises that there is already a comprehensive body of EU legislation in the field. So focusing on better implementation of the current legislation is exactly what is needed to make sure it is applied in practice and therefore protects workers. This was the main message sent by BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer to members of the European Parliament Employment Committee in advance of their vote on 13 October on a draft report on the strategic framework on health and safety at work.
Read more or contact: Rebekah Smith
Address Horizon 2020 low success rate, with many good proposals being rejected
Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, is a key research-funding instrument. The second wave of inputs to further simplify it was discussed on 25 September at a meeting between the European Commission and a wide range of stakeholders. BusinessEurope raised the issues of oversubscription and low success rate of applications (down to 12%), which are key problems affecting the appetite of companies to apply for co-funding of their projects by the EU. A possible solution would be to limit the broadness of the topics covered by calls, and to extend the use of the two-stage procedure. This could guarantee that in the second stage, applicants have a fair chance of success, and especially SMEs would not waste their resources. On the basis of first results, participants in the meeting presented a number of concrete concerns and proposals to improve the Horizon 2020 programme further, notably in terms of funding, model grant agreements, success rate or synergies with structural funds.
Contact: Jan Bambas
- 8-9 October 2015: migration: meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council
- 12-15 October 2015: Open Days – 13th European Week of Regions and Cities
- 15-16 October 2015: Tripartite Social Summit and meeting of the European Council
Contact: BusinessEurope Headlines