BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2017-12
Entrepreneurs want a strong European Union
The EU heads of state or government met in Rome on March 25th to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. On 23 March, BusinessEurope exchanged views on the future of Europe with the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, during a dinner hosted by the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) in Rome. On 24 March, BusinessEurope handed over a declaration outlining the business vision on the future of the European Union to the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. In a special EU social partners summit during the afternoon they also met with President Jean-Claude Juncker and shared a joint statement setting out the common views of employers and trade unions and their strong belief in the European project. BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said “As entrepreneurs, we stand ready to work for a better European Union that delivers for citizens and for companies. We need strong leadership in Europe and a clear vision on the way forward. Europe is one of the best places in the world to live and work. Only courageous common answers to the multiple challenges facing us will bring citizens’ confidence and economic success.”
Contact: Thérèse de Liedekerke
On 25 March 2017, Europe celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.
Hear the voices of the business community in our photo & video gallery.
Preliminary reaction to the triggering of Article 50
The UK has now notified officially its decision to leave the European Union and triggered article 50 of the EU Treaty. BusinessEurope and its 40 member federations from 34 European countries have published a “Preliminary reaction to the triggering of Article 50”. BusinessEurope stands ready to play a constructive role in the search of solutions to establish a sound and balanced new model for EU-UK relations. It is in the interest of both the European Union and the United Kingdom to pursue mutually beneficial relations in the future, in a level playing field environment. The exit of the UK from the EU must be smooth. Negotiations should be led in a true spirit of partnership and mutual loyalty.
Contact: Luisa Santos
Pushing for conclusion of EU-Japan FTA
Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, was in Japan for a number of meetings with high level Japanese Government officials including State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura and Deputy Foreign Minister Keiichi Katakami to discuss the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations (FTA). In Tokyo, Beyrer also spoke at a high-level Conference on Japan, US and EU economic relations.
Contact: Maurice Fermont
VAT position papers published
BusinessEurope this week released its position paper on the European Commission’s proposal for a Generalised Reverse Charge Mechanism (GRCM). While BusinessEurope fully endorses the fight against VAT-fraud, the GRCM proposal has the potential to create internal market distortions without ensuring that the GRCM can deliver a genuine absolute reduction in VAT fraud in the EU at an acceptable cost. The significant increase in administrative burden, as discussed in the European Commission’s own impact assessment, is also alarming for businesses across Europe. BusinessEurope also presented a position paper in relation to the proposal on modernising VAT for cross-border E-commerce. We suggest that the proposed measures have the potential to support the digital economy when it comes to VAT compliance. We support in particular the broadening of the Mini-One-Stop-Shop (MOSS) to all B2C distance sales of goods and services, which can relieve administrative burden for businesses significantly.
Contact: Pieter Baert
Digitalisation’s impact on jobs
Digital developments like Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and robotics can have many applications in the real world and considerably contribute to society. As with every transformation, it is crucial to properly address potential concerns over its impact on employment. However, so far digitalisation’s net impact on employment is positive, with more jobs created than the ones lost, as highlight Guido Lobrano at the Google’s Digital Transformation event on 28 March. Focus on improving European’ digital skills is essential during this transition and in the long term.
Contact: Guido Lobrano
Maintaining a strong dialogue between businesses in the EU and Russia
On the occasion of the annual Brussels visit of the Association of European Business in Russia (AEB), BusinessEurope had the opportunity to host a meeting with the Members of the Board, to discuss developments in EU-Russia trade and economic relations. The AEB represents European investors present in Russia. Therefore passing on their first-hand experience and knowing the business climate in Russia is valuable. It’s is understood that the combined impact of financial sanctions, the decrease of oil prices and the depreciation of the rouble have rendered doing business in Russia more difficult in the past years. At the same time, BusinessEurope conveyed the message that European businesses are concerned by a number of trade disruptive measures and import substitution policies pursued by Russia. They affect different sectors – agriculture and food, automotive, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. These measures go beyond sanctions and reflect an overall economic policy in Russia that is turning towards protectionism. BusinessEurope is closely observing developments and maintains close contacts with its counterparts in Russia, in an effort to assist in finding ways to effectively address challenges.
Contact: Sofia Bournou
Reinforcing cooperation with Japanese Patent Office
BusinessEurope met with the President of the Japanese Patent Office on 28 March in Seville. An exchange of views took place on a wide range of topics, namely current challenges and the future of the Intellectual Property (IP) system globally, IP developments in Japan and Europe, the impact of Industry 4.0 on the IP systems and procedural and substantive patent law harmonisation discussions. BusinessEurope and the Japanese Patent Office agreed to continue this regular dialogue to strengthen their cooperation.
Contact: Ilias Konteas
- 30-31 March 2017: B7 Business Summit, Rome
- 3-6 April 2017: European Parliament Plenary Session, Strasbourg