BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2015-33
President Marcegaglia: “Europe must take urgent and concrete steps to boost its industrial competitiveness”
“European companies believe in the European Union. They are keen to invest in our continent. But to do so, they need a dynamic and business-friendly environment”, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia stressed at an event on industrialisation strategies in the EU and the USA organised by the Federation of Austrian Industries Upper Austria (IV OÖ) on 20 October in Linz, Austria. In front of a numerous audience and in presence of the US Ambassador to Austria, H.E. Alexa Wesner, the President of Worldsteel and CEO of Voestalpine Wolfgang Eder, Franz Gasselsberger, CEO Oberbank AG and Axel Greiner, President IV OÖ, President Marcegaglia outlined three key areas crucial for Europe’s way forward: a successful TTIP agreement, stronger investment in research and innovation, and the need to reduce the EU industrial prices of energy.
Contact: Dominik Futschik
Photo © IV OÖ-Krügl
European Commissioner Bieńkowska addressed Executive Committee of BusinessEurope
One week before the adoption of the single market strategy, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs outlined the main avenues of this new action plan to BusinessEurope’s Executive Committee. She underlined the importance of better implementation and stronger enforcement of existing rules and the strong commitment needed from member states to achieve this. “The single market is an engine for growth and job creation. We need to make it work better to make Europe more competitive” stressed Director General Markus J. Beyrer. BusinessEurope members discussed the upcoming single market strategy and the actions needed to complete the single market further.
Contact: Jérôme Chauvin
Industry expects Paris climate summit to be a deal-breaker, Beyrer tells Polish minister
The Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and the COP21 Paris climate summit were the main topics discussed with Polish minister Marcin Korolec on 21 October. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer highlighted that the current ETS reform proposal fails to safeguard the competitiveness of European industry by unnecessarily reducing the volume of free allowances in a drastic manner, thus raising the risk of investment leakage and exposing industry to unfair competition from countries without comparable climate efforts. On the state of climate negotiations, Beyrer signalled the positive momentum created by the publication of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), but warned that judging by most pledges seen so far, it is unclear how these will impact the sectors exposed to international trade, particularly in major competing economies. He added: industry expects the Paris climate summit to be a deal-breaker for European business.
Contact: Margarida Bolzer
Climate summit in Paris: BusinessEurope delegation in Washington, D.C.
What are the EU business community key expectations from an agreement at the climate summit in Paris? Olivier Imbault, Chair of BusinessEurope Energy and Climate Working Group, led a delegation to Washington, D.C. to meet US Congressmen and Senators, the Obama administration and key US business organisations. They also discussed topical issues of high interest for business such as the form any such agreement will take and the US stance.
Global risks underline need for reforms to ‘lock in’ EU recovery
BusinessEurope members see the economic recovery continuing, broadly unchanged from our expectations in the spring. We expect EU output to expand this year by 2.0% in the EU and by 1.7% in the Euro-area (up by 0.1 percentage points for both), with the potential of GDP growth of 2.0% in the EU and 1.8% in the Euro-area in 2016 (both down by 0.1 percentage points). Given the temporary nature of the supporting factors and the slowdown in emerging markets, both the EU and its member states urgently need to press ahead with growth-enhancing structural reforms that raise potential growth and ‘lock-in’ the present recovery.
The crucial role of competition policy in enhancing EU’s competitiveness
Competition policy and its enforcement can play a key role in contributing to the EU growth and jobs agenda. BusinessEurope clearly recognises the fundamental role well-functioning competition plays in the single market, in terms of limiting distortions and ensuring more efficiency, innovation and choice. On 20 October, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer met European Commission Director General Johannes Laitenberger, recently appointed at DG Competition, to discuss how competition policy can contribute more directly to encouraging investment, and to take stock one year after the beginning of the Juncker Commission’s term. He stressed that the competition and state aid principles are sound but their implementation and enforcement need to evolve to ensure that competition remains crucial to address the global challenges for business.
Contact: Guido Lobrano
Labour market intelligence at local level is key to achieving inclusive labour markets
Improving people’s chances to move from education into employment requires systems which are better tailored to labour market needs. This was the main message given by Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope Director for Social Affairs, during a panel debate on inclusive labour markets at the Eurocities Social Affairs Forum on 20 October. He highlighted that tackling skills mismatches through a better identification of skills needs is indispensable to achieving inclusive labour markets. He also pointed to the importance of local partnerships to identify where the jobs are and where skills needs and gaps are, now and in the future; highlighting examples of action taken by social partners to implement the 2010 European social partner framework agreement on inclusive labour markets.
Contact: Rebekah Smith
Geo-blocking, platforms and collaborative economy: first assess the current situation
Europe’s regulatory approach to the digital economy will largely affect its potential development. The European Commission should carefully assess the reasons for different prices or conditions in the single market. Targeting geo-blocking per se as an illegal practice is incorrect. Many of such differences can be justified and are a direct result of remaining fragmentation in the single market. Objective reasons for different treatment are for instance related to different market conditions, additional costs due to distance, dissimilar VAT rates, payment issues, additional national regulation or a fragmented copyright landscape. The Commission should also clarify how existing EU rules apply to platforms and sharing economy services. The EU approach should be balanced and must ensure that Europe can take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the digital economy. BusinessEurope and its members passed this message when discussing with Commission officials on 15 October.
Europe in years of crisis – Vision for a reformed Europe
“Even though Europe faces many obstacles, industry strongly believes in the European Union”, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said at a panel debate with the Turkish Ambassador to the EU, Selim Yenel, and the Director of the European Policy Centre, Fabian Zuleeg. The EU is continuing to see its economic recovery but growth is not robust yet and member states need to implement reforms to address structural weaknesses. “We need to make all of our economies more resilient and more competitive. This is a vision for Europe”, Beyrer concluded. The panel debate on 13 October at BusinessEurope was organised by the Young Industry (JI) - the youth organisation of the Federation of Austrian Industry.
Contact: Dominik Futschik
Photo © JI
Six key messages on tax rulings
“Tax rulings are essential for companies to invest in Europe” is the main message sent by BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer to the chairman of the special TAXE Committee of the European Parliament, Alain Lamassoure. The paper highlights business support for fair tax competition and for enforcement of state aid rules, whilst safeguarding the importance of maintaining a dialogue between business and public administrations and the effective protection of company commercially sensitive information.
Patents: reaffirming close cooperation
“A close cooperation between BusinessEurope and the European Patent Office is important, also at international level”, Director General Markus J. Beyrer told EPO President Benoit Battistelli on 20 October. They also exchanged views on the progress of the Unitary Patent. BusinessEurope calls for rapid ratification by member states of the Unified Patent Court agreement to accelerate the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent. In addition, the benefits of patent law harmonisation were discussed.
Contact: Ilias Konteas
Swedish social partners in Brussels to promote a successful TTIP
Issues related to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which are crucial for both workers and employers were discussed by BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer and the Director General of BusinessEurope's Swedish member Svenskt Näringsliv, Carola Lemne with the leaders of Swedish and European trade unions on 14 October. The trade agreement is an opportunity for Europe to remain competitive and strive in the world trade scene.
Contact: Daniele Olivieri
TTIP is an opportunity not to be missed
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is not only an opportunity to have more companies - especially SMEs – present in the US market with their goods and services but also to set rules and standards that live up to European values. It is also an opportunity to revive our historic and close relation with the USA in a critical geo-political moment, BusinessEurope said at the Transatlantic Seminar « Unpacking TTIP Negotiations » jointly organised by the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the University of California Berkeley and the University of St. Gallen on 16 October at the European Commission.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
Exchanging views with Commissioner Moscovici cabinet
“The business community welcomes the launch of the action plan on corporate taxation. It will remain actively engaged in it” was the message highlighted by BusinessEurope Tax Policy Group members in an exchange of views with Maria-Elena Scoppio, adviser for tax issues to Commissioner Moscovic, on 15 October 2015. Ms Scoppio gave an extended overview of the European Commission priorities on tax issues for the upcoming months, namely regarding the new approach to the common consolidated corporate tax base proposal and the perspectives regarding the recently publication of the OECD-BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting project) final action points and implementation perspectives.
Contact: Mafalda Moz Teixeira
Carbon markets in the 2015 climate agreement
“We call on governments to include market-based measures in the Paris climate change agreement as well as decisions relating to the deal”, 20 organisations and associations say in a letter co-signed by BusinessEurope. The letter comes as a response to a draft text released earlier this month to serve as a basis for the new agreement, which lacked clear rules on the use of market mechanisms. It was sent to ministers in the USA, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, the EU, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, along with more than 80 other countries. A copy was also sent to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.