BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2015-41
Climate summit COP21 deal: an important step forward, but not (yet) the full answer
The outcome of the COP21 climate summit in Paris is an important step forward for global efforts to reduce emissions and it is essential that all countries now deliver on their pledges. While many other major economies accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the EU remains by far the most ambitious even among the developed countries. BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia stressed that "we were hoping that other countries would increase their ambition to closer to that of the EU. It is important that all major economies make comparable efforts as soon as possible. We will be assessing the impact of today’s outcome on competitiveness of the European industry."
Crisis-hit EU needs stronger economic base to handle challenges
Europe has to deal with terrorism, international conflicts, the slowing down of world growth, high unemployment and the migration crisis. A strengthened economic base is an indispensable prerequisite for successfully handling these challenges. Therefore we urgently need to strengthen our European economy. We must continue with structural reforms in our respective countries and further improve the governance of our Economic and Monetary Union. "There is no time to waste", BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia wrote in a message to the European Council meeting on 17-18 December 2015. The 5 Presidents’ report is a first step. But greater urgency and ambition are needed in strengthening EMU and in setting out a clear path for the coming years.
Markus J. Beyrer meets the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan
For the first time Taiwan has been mentioned in the EU “Trade for All” strategy and many wonder what this will mean for EU-Taiwan relations. On 14 December the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan met Markus J. Beyrer and BusinessEurope’s international relations department to discuss this and other developments. The recent meeting between President Xi Jinping (China) and President Ma Ying-jeou (Taiwan) provides an optimistic outlook for cross-strait and EU-Taiwan relations in the near future. Taiwan is currently the EU’s sixth largest trading partner in Asia and its 19th largest trading partner overall.
Contact: Maurice Fermont
China to get "market economy status"?
China, as a member of the WTO, seeks to obtain a new status as a “market economy” in 2016. This “market economy status” (MES) would have a substantial impact on EU’s economic relationship with China. BusinessEurope has published its position paper on the subject. Talking about what is at stake Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope said: “There are deep concerns within major parts of the European business community about what the expiry of Section 15 subparagraph (a)(ii) of China’s Accession Protocol to the WTO could mean for the EU anti-dumping procedures and industrial competitiveness. The EU should therefore maintain effective trade defence instruments that take the real market situation in China into account”.
Member states must refrain from taking measures hampering transport in the single market
The cost and efficiency of transport services directly affect trade flows, mobility and competitiveness of European companies. BusinessEurope is highly concerned about recent developments in a number of EU countries resulting in new obstacles to international transport operations, considerably affecting free movement. At a Lewiatan seminar on road transport, Senior Adviser Jeroen Hardenbol commented: “We observe a ‘mushrooming’, or popping-up of national measures that directly impact free movement, such as the German minimum wage law, but also regulations on resting time in France and Belgium or the heavy anti-fraud EKAER system in Hungary”. BusinessEurope supports the European Commission in finding workable solutions and encourages them to continue the active dialogue with the relevant member states to create the necessary clarity and legal certainty for companies that is needed to plan and invest in Europe.
New EU rules on data protection: a missed opportunity
The general data protection regulation should have put in place a proportionate regime for sanctions without excessively high fines in case of a violation. Companies also need a clear definition of liability between controllers and processors, avoiding joint and several liability. BusinessEurope wrote to Justice Minister of Luxembourg Felix Braz expressing the top priorities of the business community ahead of the agreement at the trilogue meeting on 15 December. “We regret that the new EU rules on data protection fail to include some key elements that could stimulate competitiveness and do not strike the right balance between protecting citizens and enabling free movement of data in the digital single market”, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said reacting to the political agreement.
How to move ahead to reduce late payments
“There is no need to revise the EU 2011 late payment directive at this stage”, BusinessEurope wrote to the European Commission as a follow-up to the meeting of the Commission late payment expert group on 24 November. BusinessEurope attended part of the meeting, at which comments were sought regarding the report the Commission is preparing on implementation of the late payment directive. In BusinessEurope’s view, the current directive has a lot of merits; the Commission should concentrate on its effective implementation by member states and be very firm on this. There is however room for a Commission guidance document clarifying some concepts. The Commission should furthermore launch a study evaluating the success of “soft“ measures - prompt payment codes for example - implemented by governments in some countries with the aim of encouraging the dissemination of best practices.
Contact: Daniel Cloquet
Positive economic effects of an EU-India FTA would help India address social issues
“Strengthened trade relations between the EU and India would lead to positive economic outcomes with a strong positive spill-over effect on other social issues”, BusinessEurope Adviser Maurice Fermont said on a panel discussion hosted on 14 December by the European Economic and Social Committee on the social dimensions of EU-India trade relations. Strengthened trade relations, and in particular the conclusion of a free-trade agreement, would help India reform its domestic market and improve its ease of doing business, which would allow Indian business to become more competitive and help facilitate the market entry of foreign companies. Ultimately, the extent to which a free-trade agreement would address social challenges will also depend on how the Indian government distributes the gains from increased trade and investment.
Contact: Maurice Fermont
- 20 December 2015: Spain's general election
- 1 January 2016: Dutch Presidency of the European Union
- 14 January 2016: Next edition of BusinessEurope Headlines
- 14 January 2016: Meeting of the Eurogroup
- 15 January 2015: Meeting of the Ecofin Council
Contact: BusinessEurope Headlines