BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2016-01
Beyrer and Daul agree that more Europe is needed
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer met the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, on 13 January. As with most other major European political parties, we are in regular contact with the EPP to discuss all topical issues that matter to European companies, and impact our European project. Issues of particular interest were the banking union, the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, migration, the UK referendum and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as well as geopolitical trends in 2016. Markus Beyrer explained why on most of these issues, European companies believe that a stronger, more united and reformed Europe must be part of the solution.
Contact: Christian Feustel
Digital transformation at the heart of Europe's competitiveness
The ongoing fourth industrial revolution is radically modifying the global economy, and particularly the manufacturing and industry-related services. Europe needs a true digital transformation to regain global competitiveness and deliver growth and jobs. If we succeed, Europe could see a gross added value worth 1.25 trillion euros by 2025 in manufacturing alone. Speaking at European Commissioner Oettinger’s third roundtable on digitalisation of industry, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer stressed that Europe needs to establish a European model for digitalisation, accompanied by an overarching shift in policy-making to become the most dynamic digital growth region in the world.
Trade policy should remain business-driven
On 13 January, BusinessEurope participated in the public hearing at the European Economic and Social Committee to assess the new EU trade and investment strategy. This was an opportunity to reiterate the importance of having an ambitious trade and investment agenda that effectively provides EU companies with new business opportunities. Concluding key bilateral negotiations, in particular with the USA and Japan, and bringing new impetus to the WTO are top priorities for the new trade strategy. BusinessEurope also highlighted aspects of the new trade strategy that raise concerns in the business community, in particular the new investment court system proposal that is being presented as a model in all our bilateral trade and investment negotiations. For a successful trade and investment strategy the EU should also ensure swift approval of concluded agreements such as CETA with Canada.
Contact: Luisa Santos
The key role of member states in Europe’s digital transformation
Future-proof regulation, digital skills and interoperability-enabling standards are three fundamental pillars needed to support digital transformation of the industry and services in Europe. Deputy Director Guido Lobrano presented BusinessEurope’s recommendation in these areas to the EU Council’s Working Party Industry meeting on 13 January, in view of the upcoming discussion of the ministerial informal Competitiveness Council. Member states have a crucial role to play in Europe’s future digital transformation strategy, in particular by avoiding fragmentation, while looking at national best practices and encouraging the creation of digital ecosystems across the continent, especially for SMEs and start-ups.
Data protection authorities need to ensure consistency in their approach to international data flows
Cross-border data flows are essential for innovation, job creation and economic growth. Businesses worldwide need a new Safe Harbour framework which provides legal certainty and level playing field within Europe, irrespective of the member state in which a company is based. This is the message that BusinessEurope’s Digital Economy task force Vice-Chair Liam Benham voiced during a meeting of the Article 29 Working Party - the body of the national European data protection regulators - on 12 January. European regulators, together with the European Commission, need to minimise legal uncertainty after the invalidation of Safe Harbour, and guarantee consistent treatment of international data transfers, to avoid disruptions in the EU digital single market.
Contact: Guido Lobrano
- 18-21 January 2016: European Parliament plenary sitting, Strasbourg
- 20 January: World Economic Forum annual meeting 2016, Davos
- 24 January 2016: Portuguese presidential election
- 26 January 2016: "A better framework for innovation"
Contact: BusinessEurope Headlines