BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2017-14
EU GDP above pre-crisis level, but more to be done to reduce unemployment
The end of the first quarter is a good opportunity to take stock and look at how the EU economy is performing. First, EU businesses remain confident despite challenges and factors of uncertainty, with business confidence even picking up slightly. Second, EU GDP is now 5% above 2008 levels. Higher confidence is also reflected in higher growth expectations. The Consensus Economics forecast for EU growth in 2017 was revised upwards from 1.5% in December to 1.7% in March. Third, we have also seen further improvements in the labour market, with the number of unemployed going down by over a quarter of a million since December 2016. Despite these positive indicators, unemployment is still 1.2 percentage points above pre-crisis levels and growth is still supported by temporary factors, such as a favourable exchange rate and actions of the European Central Bank. The continuing recovery is a window of opportunity which facilitates further necessary reforms.
Contact: Frederik Lange
12th EU-China Business Summit – registration is open
The 12th edition of the EU-China Business Summit will take place on 2 June in Brussels in parallel to the political EU-China summit. The summit will gather around 500 business leaders from China and Europe to discuss the most pressing issues in the economic relationship between China and Europe. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, as well as from CEOs of global companies. BusinessEurope co-organises the summit with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade who will bring a large delegation of Chinese business leaders to Brussels. Online registration is now open and participants are advised to register as early as possible to secure a seat. The programme for this year’s edition is under development and will be published soon on the summit’s website. For more information and registration, please visit: www.eu-china-business-summit.eu
Contact: Maurice Fermont
Strengthening foreign direct investment in the EU
“Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, completing the Single Market and implementing labour and product market reform in Member States can help drive foreign direct investment (FDI) into the EU”, was the key message of BusinessEurope Economics Director James Watson at a conference ‘The EU and FDI: love lost?’ held in the frame of the Maltese Presidency. The conference, held in Valletta on 7 April, was organised by Malta’s FDI promotion agency, Malta Enterprise. James Watson also noted that whilst business investment in the EU has picked up in recent years, it remains well below pre-crisis levels. As outlined in BusinessEurope’s annual Reform Barometer, better implementation in Member States of measures to raise skills, promote innovation and improve regulation is also required to help improve the business environment and support investment.
Contact: James Watson
EU SME Action Programme: the EU SME Envoy Network finalised its proposal
The SME Envoy Network met at the end of March in Zagreb for a final discussion on its proposal for an EU SME Action Programme which contains recommendations for both the EU and the Member States. The programme is the result of collaborative work to which BusinessEurope contributed. It covers the areas of better regulation, access to markets, access to finance, skills and training, entrepreneurship and digitisation of SMEs. Expressing BusinessEurope’s support to the action programme, Daniel Cloquet, Director for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, called for active implementation of the programme within a clear timeframe. The programme should be published within a few weeks.
Contact: Daniel Cloquet
- 16 April 2017: Turkish constitutional referendum
- 23 April 2017: French presidential election (first round)
- 24 April 2017: Consumer and Competition Day, La Valetta, Malta
- 22-23 May 2017: European Business Summit, Brussels
27 April 2017: your next edition of Headlines - Happy Easter to all our readers!