BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2019-22
“After nearly a decade of recession, the Greek economy has started to recover, but at a modest pace. The next government should promote a more growth-friendly strategy”, said BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz on 18 June at the general assembly of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in Athens. He talked about new paradigms for inclusive and sustainable growth: “After the EU elections, we need real and sound solutions to companies’ and citizens’ concerns”. Gattaz added that the EU has to put the competitiveness of companies at the heart of its policies and has to work closely with business to create economic conditions that are based on three “Ps”: profit, people and planet.
Contact: Julia Luerzer
“A better investment climate in Africa” - Business viewsBusinessEurope’s paper contributes to the discussion by setting out some of the most important factors that determine whether investors consider entering a market. It also makes a case for public-private dialogue as a means to improve the investment climate of a country.
Contact: Benedikt Wiedenhofer
Video message on investing in Africa
What is needed to attract more investments to Africa and why should European companies be present there? Watch BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz's replies to these questions.
Affordable, clean and integrated energy crucial for EU industry
By Leon de Graaf, Adviser for Environmental and Climate Policy
A lot of ambitious legislation has been passed in the past five years on a range of energy-related issues, from renewable energy and energy efficiency to overall governance of the energy union. These legislative frameworks will enable Europe to probably overachieve on its 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels), which would be a very welcome development and will show the commitment of Europe to tackle climate change. The big societal debate is now how Europe and other countries in the world can transform their economies to operate in a state of climate neutrality, while simultaneously improve their competitiveness and security of supply.
The objective of climate neutrality is a marathon. Achieving it will require a set of crucial framework conditions and actions, which we describe in BusinessEurope's recently published energy and climate strategy. Two of the conditions that Europe’s energy ministers must help achieve are on how to make sure that Europe’s industries have access to enough affordable, low-carbon energy, and how ministers will boost European coordination for cost-effective policy implementation. A large part of our economy’s decarbonisation will probably be achieved through increased electrification, but for those parts of the economy that cannot be electrified, sources like sustainable biomass, hydrogen and gas will need to be created as well. To achieve this, European energy ministers should first design an integrated value chain approach for securing enough energy supply. For example, energy ministers can:
- Initiate a strategic mapping exercise to link future low-carbon energy needs from industry to infrastructure developments;
- Ensure security of supply by providing, where necessary, adequate low-carbon back-up power capacity;
- Analyse where existing energy infrastructure can be upgraded, interconnectivity and storage can be increased;
- Analyse in cases of energy insufficiency risks the import needs for low-carbon energy, guaranteed by certificates of origin;
- Incentivise further improvements in energy efficiency, which will remain crucial to balance the significant increase in overall energy demand.
Secondly, these actions must be coordinated in a better way. Despite significant improvements in some EU Member States in their energy interconnections, the overall European system has not seen any major changes in recent years, with some countries even experiencing decreases in interconnectivity. Wholesale price differences between Member States remain substantial given the lack of interconnectivity and adequate grid development, insufficient market coupling and inappropriate use of interconnectors, preventing the transformation to an Energy Union where energy can flow freely from one Member State to another.
Member States start from different starting points in terms of energy mix, share of industrial activities and financial means, which will make the shift towards climate neutrality more challenging for some than others. Europe therefore needs to become more cohesive and inclusive to implement energy and climate policies to make this shift cost-effectively. Energy ministers have a unique opportunity to lay the initial foundations in next week’s Energy Council and the years to come.
Eurostat electricity and heat statistics for today’s (2016) data.
Institute for European Studies (IES), 2018. Industrial value chain: A bridge towards a carbon neutral Europe.
Contact: Leon de Graaf
letter sent to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, BusinessEurope reiterated the extremely important strategic dimension of this agreement at times when international trade suffers from volatility and is negatively affected by increasing protectionism and unilateral measures. As stated in the letter: “Overall the European economy would clearly benefit from an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and we should not miss the opportunity to gain a first mover advantage in a very closed market of more than 260 million consumers.The final agreement should take into account the interests of all the sectors affected by negotiations in a balanced way”.
Contact: Luisa Santos
Contact: Eleonora Catella
Contact Robert Plummer
Contact: Elena Bertolotto
- 25 June: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council
- 26 June: Environment Council
- 28-29 June: G20 Summit in Japan
- 1 July: Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU
- 8 July: BusinessEurope event A trade strategy fit for the 21st century