BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2017-16
B20 delivers strong recommendations in the area of trade and investment
The Germany B20 Summit that took place in Berlin on 2 and 3 May was the culmination of almost a year’s efforts of the business community to prepare recommendations on a broad global agenda, including on digitalisation, energy, climate & resource efficiency, employment & education and SMEs. Emma Marcegaglia, BusinessEurope’s President, as chair of the Trade and Investment Taskforce, delivered the policy paper “Creating Benefits for All Driving Inclusive Growth through Trade and Investment” to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a dedicated leaders session. The policy paper calls in particular for (1) strengthening an open and inclusive trading system, (2) making use of digital trade potential and (3) fostering investment facilitation. Commenting on the paper, Emma Marcegaglia stated: “Today we passed a strong message against protectionism, in favour of more sustainable and inclusive trade policies. We believe that our recommendations will contribute to this goal. The key is now in the hands of the G20 to deliver.”
The B20 Trade and Investment policy paper may be found here.
Contact: Luisa Santos
Services Package timely and contains good proposals, but e-card needs work
The Services Package that the European Commission presented earlier this year contains some pragmatic ideas to make it easier for companies to provide services in another EU Member State. We strongly support the proposal for a renewed and stricter notification procedure when Member States wish to introduce additional requirements. The proportionality test and guidance to reduce the number of regulated professions that fragment labour markets are also welcome. However, we have certain reservations about the impact of a European services e-card (ESC), its added value and some of its practical implications. This was stressed in a letter from Director General Markus J. Beyrer to all MEPs of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee (IMCO) ahead of their discussions on the package, which accompanied BusinessEurope’s position paper. The ESC proposals need to be improved to make them more precise, for example regarding the information to be included in the e-card. The benefits of the ESC must be very clear to ensure its take-up, otherwise this novel approach will not work.
Contact: Jeroen Hardenbol
Strong industry participation in R&D programmes
“Maintaining the innovation ecosystem of small and large companies, academia and research organisations is key to bring research results to society”, Alexandre Affre said on 28 April at a public hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. The framework programme has successfully established funding of research and innovation, with more than 80 billion euros over seven years. The mid-term evaluation is an opportunity to improve the system further and integrate these findings into the next framework programme. BusinessEurope has just published its views. Together with other panellists, Affre emphasised that participation of the industry is highly beneficial for all parties of the innovation ecosystem.
Contact: Alexandre Affre
Reform for growth - Hans-Böckler Foundation event
Completing the EU Single Market and strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) were two clear priorities for reform set out by BusinessEurope’s Economics Director, James Watson, at a Hans-Böckler Foundation event, ‘European Dialogue 2017’ in Brussels on 27 April. Speaking on a panel entitled ‘What reforms to Enable Europe to Grow Together’ alongside Maria João Rodrigues (MEP) and Matthieu Meaulle from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), James stressed that greater urgency is required to take forward the proposals set out in the 2015 ‘5 Presidents Report’ on deepening the EMU. In addition, the EU must also play a stronger role, through the European Semester, in supporting EU Member States undertaking growth-enhancing structural reforms in product and labour markets in order to boost long-term growth, with James noting that according to BusinessEurope’s 2017 Reform Barometer, only 17% of the EU’s country-specific reform recommendations (CSRs) have been implemented satisfactorily by Member States.
Photo copyright: Horst Wagner
Contact: James Watson
Policies to promote the transatlantic digital economy
The economic and societal benefits that the transatlantic digital economy offers rely upon the abilities of businesses to innovate and remain productive. That is why BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce have sent a letter to European Commission Vice President, Andrus Ansip and incoming US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to reaffirm the business communities shared commitments to digital transatlantic cooperation. The letter, which can be read here, demonstrates shared areas of interest for the transatlantic business community in a number of areas, specifically on: privacy, data flows, internet of things, cybersecurity and standards. Our regulatory regimes must continue to support these interests if the EU and the US are to remain strategic leaders of the global digital economy.
BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce will hold a joint event on 11 May at the Sofitel in Brussels, Belgium to discuss these issues further. If you are interested to attend please RSVP here.
Contact: Patrick Grant
Discussing green tax with Commission officials
BusinessEurope’s Green Tax Policy Group was pleased to welcome Thomas Carroll, Head of Indirect Taxes other than VAT, at European Commission’s DG TAXUD, to its meeting on 26 April. Mr Carroll discussed new developments in the area of green taxation, including a recently launched study entitled ‘technical study on the Energy Taxation Directive’. Mr Carroll stressed the importance of this study and encouraged members to provide input. Following Carroll’s presentation, the group engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on such topics as the Energy Tax Directive, biomass fuels and the status of carbon taxation in different EU member states.
Contact: Pieter Baert
Taking stock: the digital single market
The European Commission will launch a mid-term review of its digital single market strategy on 10 May. This will take stock of the progress made so far on this initiative and outline further steps in order to achieve its goals. In preparation of this, BusinessEurope has sent a high-level message to the Commission to demonstrate its support for a renewed emphasis in order to complete the digital single market. The full economic and societal benefits of digital can only be realised for Europe through fostering innovation and investment. Better regulation principles have an important role to play in this regard. Not every technological advance needs to be followed by legislation. The benefits of these technologies should be fostered first. Policy-makers should only respond to true market failures. Our broad views on a number of topical files are also outlined in the statement.
Contact: Patrick Grant
European Business Summit – what is the way forward for Europe
What is the way forward and what path Europe has to take in the future? Could business offer more innovative solutions to further generate growth and employment? Join the European Business Summit on 22 – 23 May and debate with 150 high-level speakers - business leaders, politicians, trade union representatives and NGOs.
See the programme and register here
- 6 May 2017: Europe day in Brussels
- 7 May 2017: French presidential elections (2nd round)
- 9 May 2017: Schuman Day
- 11 May 2017: How to sustain global digital leadership, Brussels
- 22-23 May 2017: European Business Summit, Brussels