BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2019-30
“The new Commission college under the leadership of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has an ambitious programme. BusinessEurope stands ready to contribute and discuss our ideas and views on the way forward”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer at the opening gala of the European Forum for New Ideas, hosted by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan from 25-27 September in Sopot. Beyrer added that BusinessEurope identified 50 actions for the first 100 days of the new Commission addressing the need to defend rules-based and open trade, to strengthen and develop our Single Market and to put in place a more strategic and holistic industrial policy cutting across our whole European economy to regain our world leadership and be fit for global competition. “In a moment where we face challenges in the transatlantic relationship, a very difficult Brexit process and a more and more assertive China, Europe has to make sure to do its internal homework in order to be able to succeed”, said Beyrer. See all the actions.
Contact: Jasmin Ploner
“What happens in the next 5 years will be incredibly important to increase the chances to reach climate neutrality by around mid-century. Doing so will require everyone – businesses, governments and civil society – to step up their efforts”, said BusinessEurope Director for Industrial Affairs Alexandre Affre at the event “Reaching climate neutrality: Framework conditions and actions on how to get there”, on 2 October in Brussels. Alexandre shared the panel with Riku Huttunen, Director General for Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, and Ester Asin, Director of the European Policy Office at the World Wide Fund (WWF). Alexandre explained further that BusinessEurope had put forward 5 framework conditions and related actions that European businesses believe are crucial to get us there. They include (1) the recognition of different conditions and starting points for EU Member States, (2) the development and deployment of innovative technologies, (3) large-scale availability of affordable, low-carbon energy, (4) the adaptation of consumer behaviour and public acceptance for the low-carbon energy transition, and (5) the convergence of global climate ambitions. See the photos of the event.
Contact: Alexandre Affre
“An organisation like BusinessEurope has significant responsibilities in promoting gender balance as we stand for millions of companies across Europe, many of them SMEs, and many of them led by women”, said Luisa Santos, Director For International Relations at BusinessEurope at the event “Trade for her”, organised by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in Brussels the 30 September. Santos added that trade and trade agreements can open new business opportunities for women but communication is key. “In our communication actions we try to promote female voices that can be an inspiring example for others to follow”, she stated. The event was also an opportunity to discuss the study “From Europe to the World: understanding challenges for European businesswomen”, done by the International Trade Centre. Only 1 in 5 companies exporting outside the EU is led by women, the study finds. “We need to ensure that more companies, especially SMEs, benefit from the EU’s free trade agreements. This will also have a positive impact on women led companies. Now that we have so many free trade agreements in place we need to focus our efforts on implementation”, Santos concluded.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
“Europe needs to remain open for foreign investments and national security should not be misused for protectionist reasons”. This was one of the key messages that Luisa Santos, Director for International Relations at BusinessEurope gave in the event “Foreign Direct Investment: what challenges and what tools for the European Union”, jointly organised by Medef- French Business Confederation - and AFEP, the organisation representing large French companies, in Paris on 1 October. Speaking in a panel that addressed foreign direct investment (FDI) and national security, Santos also recalled that “the EU is the largest investor in the world as well as the main destination for foreign investors. We need to remain an attractive FDI destination as we have an interest in accessing technologies that are not being developed in Europe”, she stated. Screening mechanisms should allow the EU and its Member States to have more information on foreign direct investment flows, be more selective when it comes to certain sectors but they should not deter investments.
Contact: Luisa Santos
“Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is essential to increase Euro Area upward convergence”, was the key message of BusinessEurope's Economics Director, James Watson, at a joint European Commission/Eurofound event on 26 September. Speaking at the event, entitled “Economic and Social Convergence in the EU, making it happen”, James noted that important progress has been made in the EU in many aspects of social and economic performance, with increasing employment, improving educational performance and greater gender equality also demonstrating positive convergence between EU member states. But with convergence generally having not taken place within the Euro Area, he emphasised the importance of responsive labour markets, labour mobility and further steps to deepen the EMU, including a full banking union, as policies which could support upward convergence in the single currency area.
Contact: James Watson
Photo copyright: Eurofound
“The European Union needs to be present and involved in all continents”, said Senior Adviser Eleonora Catella at the European Forum for New Ideas organised in Sopot, Poland, by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan. She spoke on the panel “Europe towards Africa, America and Asia” on 27 September. “The EU’s trade agenda can help, for example through free trade agreements at the regional or country level. We need to diversify markets, but this does not mean leaving the USA or China, which are our main trade partners”, Catella stated. Africa, she added, offers a wealth of opportunities, it’s a diverse continent whose economies are projected to register an average of 4% GDP growth in 2019, one of the most dynamic rates in the world. European businesses call for improvements in the investment climate that would give more assurances to investors who are too often confronted with competition on a non-level playing field. “Market fragmentation across different countries needs to be overcome to create economies of scale, and, once they are fully implemented, the Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and African countries are a useful step in the right direction”, she concluded.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer sent a letter to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager together with BusinessEurope’s paper on how to strengthen EU competition policy and adapt it to developments on global markets. BusinessEurope makes recommendations so that competition policy can function effectively, encourage growth and prevent damage to businesses in the wider economy. For instance, merger rules should define markets in a realistic way, taking account of global market conditions and adopting a dynamic analysis and long-term view to assess the existence of competitive pressure. Checks and balances in competition procedures should be improved to ensure a proper due process. And State aid policy should support good aid and investment in research and innovation projects that contribute to growth, jobs and EU global competitiveness.
Contact: Erik Berggren
BusinessEurope’s Economic and Financial Affairs Committee was pleased to welcome Carsten Pillath, Director for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness at the Council of the European Union, as a guest speaker at their meeting on 25th September. Pillath, whose responsibilities include leading support for the Ecofin Council, Eurogroup and Competitiveness Council, outlined the state of play in some of the key dossiers in these council formations. During the discussion, BusinessEurope members emphasised the importance of making progress in Ecofin regarding deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), including through the completion of the banking union.
Contact: James Watson
BusinessEurope and its partners from the United States (Industry Trilateral) had their annual meeting with the Patent Offices that are members of the Group B+ in Geneva on 1 October. The aim of this event was to present and discuss the state of play of the Industry Trilateral work in the ongoing cooperation project to harmonise substantive patent law to the benefit of users of the global patent system. BusinessEurope stated that global harmonisation of patent laws will bring benefits in terms of legal certainty, simplification and cost reduction.
Contact: Elena Bertolotto
On 25-26 September 2019, BusinessEurope Adviser Elena Bertolotto attended the annual plenary meeting of the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights in Alicante, together with representatives from the EU-28, the EU institutions, the private sector, civil society and international organisations. She highlighted that businesses support the work carried out by the Observatory and look forward to the adoption of its 2020 Annual Plan. This meeting provided the opportunity to present and discuss the ongoing work of the Observatory and agree on future activities. There were panels on supporting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on SMEs and how to address young audiences. The discussion also focused on the new counterfeiting and piracy threats, and how new technologies can help enforcement. For more information on BusinessEurope IP strategy for the coming years please click here.
Contact: Elena Bertolotto
- 4 October: Environment Council
- 6 October: Portuguese elections
- 8-11 October: WTO Public Forum
- 9 October: Social partners’ conference
- 9 October: Eurogroup
- 13 October: Polish elections