BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2016-04
Need to focus on the essentials - Priorities for the Dutch Presidency of the EU
The Netherlands assume the rotating presidency of the European Union in testing times. BusinessEurope fully supports the three basic principles to be followed by the Dutch Presidency of the EU: focusing on the essentials, creating innovative growth and jobs, and connecting with society. This is the message BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia sent to Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. Strengthening our European economy is more important than ever and companies are an essential part of the solution if we want to improve growth and win the battle for employment.
China ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs/Trade Council meeting
Speaking at a press conference on 28 January, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer discussed possible ways for the EU to move forward in the debate on whether or not to amend the EU anti-dumping legislation as a response to the expiry of provisions of China’s protocol of accession to the WTO. There are currently three options on the table, and the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament need to engage with each other in an open debate if the EU is to take a decision before the end of 2016. Equally, China cannot sit idle in this process because this question is not just about China, this question involves China. Anti-dumping is in most cases a response to problems generated by overcapacity.
Single market priorities discussed with EP IMCO Chair Vicky Ford
It is essential to make sure that agreed rules work on the ground and that lingering barriers in the single market are addressed. This will not only create growth and jobs, it will also make Europe more competitive as a global player. The single market strategy issued by the European Commission in October presents a number of good proposals to do this. This was stressed by BusinessEurope Deputy Director General Jérôme Chauvin when meeting MEP Vicky Ford, Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee on 27 January. We welcome the idea of a services passport which should alleviate administrative burden and a new notification instrument to avoid new barriers to trade. Standardisation is also important to facilitate free movement and should be promoted when there is a demand from the market. Better stakeholder involvement through the “joint initiative” is crucial in this respect. Regarding the sharing economy, the EU needs to take a cautious approach not to stifle innovation and block the huge potential these new business models can offer.
Cooperation between EU and Iran business is key to harness opportunities
Following the lifting of all EU financial and economic sanctions against Iran, EU-Iran relations are entering a new era which brings new opportunities for trade and investment across different sectors. In this framework, BusinessEurope has approached two Iranian business organisations – the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture and the Iranian Confederation of Employers’ Organisations (ICEA) – to establish contacts and explore opportunities for cooperation between European and Iranian business.
Contact: Sofia Bournou
Stronger VET systems for the benefit of companies and young people
Strengthening vocational education and training (VET) pathways is an important way to help provide companies with a skilled workforce and, simultaneously, facilitate young people’s transition from education to employment. This was the starting point for the comments made by Robert Plummer, Adviser for Social Affairs at BusinessEurope, at a conference organised by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research on 26 January. The conference presented a study on the role of VET in educating young people in seven EU member states. In particular, it is important to promote and increase the attractiveness of apprenticeships. Putting the framework conditions in place that allow cost-effective engagement for employers and developing the provision of career guidance for young people are crucial aspects to address.
Roundtable debate with Henrik Hololei on the future of transport in Europe
Progress should be made to finalise key transport files such as the 4th railway package and Single European Sky to move towards a genuine single European transport area. The European Commission aviation strategy presented last December comes timely and is welcome as European aviation is facing severe challenges related to relatively high operating costs, looming capacity constraints, remaining fragmentation of the Single European Sky and increased pressure from new competitors and emerging markets. This was stressed by BusinessEurope members during a roundtable debate with Henrik Hololei, Director-General of DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, on 3 February. Members also pointed to the importance of concrete and swift follow-up to the announced measures and finalising the key files still on the table such as the Single European Sky 2+ package. It is fundamental to make sure that agreed rules are correctly applied on the ground. Ensuring sufficient investment in key infrastructure is also essential to prepare for the future.
Europe’s social dimension important to achieve growth, employment and social equity
Addressing a meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) bureau in Bratislava on 28 January, Chair of BusinessEurope’s Social Affairs Committee Renate Hornung-Draus stressed the importance of Europe’s social dimension, highlighting the need for EU social policies that contribute to growth, employment and social equity. On posting of workers, achieving these goals means focusing on implementing the new rules agreed at European level in 2014, which aim to ensure better enforcement of the posting of workers directive.
Contact: Maxime Cerutti
How to facilitate the growth of start-ups and scale-ups
The European Commission is analysing what obstacles hamper the growth of start-ups and scale-ups, and if current national initiatives are sufficient to deal with this issue. An exploratory discussion on the topic took place on 2 February between BusinessEurope Entrepreneurship and SME Committee and Costas Andropoulos, Head of the Unit “COSME Programme and SME Envoys” at DG GROW. BusinessEurope is preparing for the Internet consultation that should be launched in April by the Commission.
Contact: Daniel Cloquet
- 11 February: Eurogroup meeting
- 12 February: Economic and Financial Affairs Council
- 16 February: high-level conference on the digital transformation of European industry and enterprises, Brussels
Contact: BusinessEurope Headlines