BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2019-10
BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz at Tripartite Social Summit
"The EU’s recovery is slowing. There is an urgent need to make our continent a better place to start and grow a business”, said BusinessEurope's President Pierre Gattaz at the Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels on 20 March. The answer, he added, lies in creating an enabling environment for businesses to foster more private and public investments. For instance, delivering national growth and employment enhancing reforms, increasing productivity, having a more strategic industrial policy, integrating SMEs in European and global value chains and finally walking the talk on the completion of the Single Market. “It also means supporting the digital transformation of our economy and promoting innovation and investments in skills development because this is essential if we want to have sustained and inclusive growth in the future”, Gattaz stated.
Contact: Maxime Cerutti
Video message on the European elections
“What kind of Europe do you want? Casting a vote is the first step to be part of the solution”, says BusinessEurope’s President Pierre Gattaz. In this video, he talks about Europe’s achievements and challenges and the importance of the European elections, which will take place in May this year.
Reform Barometer 2019: EU needs more world leading firms
“Europe retains many world-leading firms but Europe’s performance in developing more of them is insufficient”. This was the key message of BusinessEurope’s President Pierre Gattaz at a press breakfast on 20 March to launch BusinessEurope’s annual Reform Barometer. This year’s barometer shows that the EU needs to do more to improve its competitiveness with EU growth having now been lower than U.S. growth for 7 of the last 10 years. In addition, the Reform Barometer contains our annual survey of our member federations regarding progress on structural reform. Our member federations consider that member states have satisfactorily implemented only 20% of the Country-Specific Recommendations agreed with the EU. BusinessEurope also addressed these issues in its message to the Spring European Council on 21-22 March, in which we outline a set of policy recommendations to improve Europe’s ability to grow global leading firms and what this means for the EU long term climate strategy and the EU’s external agenda.
Contact: Pieter Baert
B20 warns against protectionism and unilateralism
At the B20 Summit in Tokyo on 15 March, global business leaders of the private sector's voice of the G20 economies warned against the rise in protectionism around the world and the increasing opposition to trade. “We must avoid trade conflicts where each side tries to play by its own rules. A ‘winner takes it all’ attitude will end in a battlefield of losers on all sides”, warned BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. He pointed out that trade wars are extremely dangerous for companies around the world, which are relying on global value chains and the ability to choose from the best and most competitive goods and services. The current trade war looming between major trading partners already puts economic growth in 2019 at risk and would make businesses, consumers and workers poorer in Europe and globally. Companies around the globe need predictability even in an era of technological disruption and high-speed digitalisation. “We need to make sure that protectionism and unilateralism will not become the ‘new normal’. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is a central pillar of today’s rules-based trading order”, Beyrer highlighted. He also defended the need to reform the WTO and make it more effective and able to respond to challenges posed by state-centric economies, including subsidies and the prominent role of state-owned enterprises. Read B20 Tokyo Summit Joint Recommendations "Society 5.0 for SDGs".
Contact: Luisa Santos
Responsible tax and sustainable growth
“Supporting investment, growth and competitiveness should be a key objective of any reforms to the corporate tax system”. This was the key message of BusinessEurope’s Economics Director James Watson, at an event organised by Deloitte on 19 March entitled “Responsible tax and sustainable growth”. Speaking on a panel alongside senior representatives from the EU institutions, James noted that BusinessEurope supports the fight against tax fraud and evasion. On the specific issue of digital tax, he welcomed the news that the EU will now focus on global agreement for a digital tax rather than a unilateral solution.
Contact: Pieter Baert
Business views on regulatory simplification in Council
On 19 March, Martynas Barysas, Director of BusinessEurope’s Internal Market Department, and Jonathan Gray, Adviser, presented industry’s views on regulatory simplification and the REFIT-platform during a meeting of the Council Working Party on Better Regulation. BusinessEurope presented a list of concrete simplification proposals covering five policy areas which it discusses for submission to the REFIT-platform. The platform’s contribution towards burden reduction without compromising the objectives of legislation in question has been invaluable, which is why it needs to be continued under the next European Commission. There was also discussion on how the platform’s activities could be developed even further under a renewed mandate. The presentation led to a positive exchange of views with members of the Working Party. Read the BusinessEurope’s strategy paper on the REFIT-platform.
Contact: Jonathan Gray
The role of business in fostering trust in Europe
At an event on the European Trust Barometer on 19 March in Brussels, BusinessEurope Policy Adviser Christian Feustel highlighted that a recent survey carried out with more than 33.000 citizens revealed that trust is a key element in the political debate, and that its significance in the era of digital transformation becomes ever more important. He applauded the fact that more than 70% of respondents said they trust their own company the most. More than their government, national media or NGOs. Feustel also explained that the role of business in motivating Europeans to go and vote for pro-EU forces in the elections to the European Parliament is crucial. More than 40% of our citizens are still undecided whether to go and vote. The survey also reveals that trust in our European project and European institutions is steadily on the rise. “But to keep it that way, all relevant actors need to play their role and actively engage in the debate on Europe. European democracy needs to be actively lived in order to work!”, Feustel stated.
Contact: Christian Feustel
Photo copyright: Edelman Brussels
How to strengthen the EU SME policy
At the 19 March meeting of the SME Envoy Network (Bucharest), Anna-Lena Bohm, Chair of the “Entrepreneurship and SME” Committee, presented BusinessEurope’s memorandum on setting ambitious goals for the future EU SME policy. She highlighted in particular the need to revisit the current mechanisms for designing EU regulation, to ensure that they don’t stand in the way of deploying innovative digital-based business models. She also stressed the need to reform these mechanisms so that they can generate regulation adapted to the new generation of products where goods, services and digital technology come as one.
Contact: Daniel Cloquet
Public-private dialogue to improve the investment climate in Africa
“No matter which funding opportunities are available, the private sector can only scale up investment in Africa if the right policy environment is in place”, said Benedikt Wiedenhofer, Adviser in BusinessEurope’s International Relations Department, at a panel discussion on the private sector’s role in public private dialogue and in improving investment climate under the External Investment Plan (EIP). The event, organised by the European Commission, took place on 13 March 2019 as a part of the 6th Workshop with Private Sector in the framework of the Policy Forum on Development. Wiedenhofer spoke on the third panel of the event. Other panellists were Etienne Giros, President of the European Business Council for Africa and Mediterranean (EBCAM), Michael Pittelkow, General Manager Public Services Africa at the software company SAP, and Paul Horrocks, Manager Private Finance at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Businesses active in a country are best suited to identify the areas that need to be reformed to improve the investment climate. Thus, efforts under the EIP to foster a close structured dialogue between the public and private sector in Africa are key,” Wiedenhofer added.
Contact: Benedikt Wiedenhofer
- 21-22 March: European Council
- 2 April: 23rd European Corporate Governance conference
- 3 April: 5th European Migration Forum
- 3 April: Launch of BusinessEurope's Thanks to Europe video
- 4 April: Finnish elections
- 4 April: 70 years of NATO