BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2019-34
“The EU economy is experiencing an economic slowdown that reflects uncertainties due to trade tensions, and in the event of a downturn, EU Member States should make use of the flexibility provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact to undertake appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policy”. This was the key message from BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer at the Macroeconomic Dialogue meeting at political level on 7 November. The Macroeconomic Dialogue provides a forum for exchanging views between the European Commission, Council, European Central Bank and social partners. Beyrer also referred to BusinessEurope’s Autumn Economic Outlook released on the same day, noting that BusinessEurope forecasts 1.3% real GDP growth in 2019 for the EU-28 and 1.2% in 2020 (down from 1.6% for 2019 and 1.7% for 2020 in our Spring forecast). The Outlook notes that the big economic question for 2020 will be how fast and with what magnitude the slowdown in export sectors affect the rest of the economy. The newly released Outlook also takes stock of the difficulty of hiring specialists with skills in Information Communication Technology (ICT) that many businesses experience. It concludes that whilst there is evidence that companies are increasing wages considerably for professions where shortages are most acute, we need a response from the educational system to address growing skills imbalances. In the USA the annual number of graduates with a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has increased by almost 20% since 2013, compared to only a 1% increase in the EU.
Contact: Malthe Munkøe
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Let’s think in large scale investments and strategic value chains
By Asdin El Habassi, Adviser for Industrial Affairsreport on strategic value chains of the Strategic Forum recently published by the European Commission, as well as the report of the Industry 2030 High Level Industrial Round Table are a welcome contribution to the debate on a more pro-active industrial strategy that Europe needs now.
Europe is facing unprecedented challenges that need more coordination, large scale investments, massive innovation and rapid action to turn these challenges into opportunities. Digitisation, green transition, globalisation and the acceleration of the global innovation and technological race, are going to be key determinants of tomorrow’s successful industries. Europe will be a global player if it manages to lead in industrial value chains that are key to EU competitiveness and technological leadership, e.g. batteries, microelectronics, low-carbon industries (hydrogen, CCS), cybersecurity.
To support this, we need to:
- Shape policies for entire strategic value chains rather than for individual sectors;
- Think less about legislation and more about how to support large-scale industrial projects across the EU;
- Foster cross-border cooperation and networks in order to spread benefits across the EU, rather than for the benefits of just a few.
Above all, it will be key to pool resources and public (EU and national levels) and private investments at the critical phase of moving innovation from labs to the market. This is the moment where public support may be necessary to fill the financial gap and overcome market failures.
As outlined in the recently published report on strengthening strategic value chains, a promising way forward could be the set-up of a collaborative governance structure on EU level for strategic value chains, that could support the Commission in monitoring current and identifying future strategic value chains and to advise on their development.
Of course, this more pro-active approach on value chains is not a silver bullet for a strong industrial strategy and other crucial framework conditions should not be left aside. A key instrument remains a competitive and well-functioning EU Single Market, and there is much to be done in terms of implementation and compliance, not least on services and the digital economy.
When we say Europe needs to become more pro-active and strategic than in the past, this does not imply that Europe should move towards protectionism or become inward-looking, which would be harmful for Europe. This does also not mean that it is just about reacting to what is happening in other parts of the world.
What we call for, is to ensure that we collectively deliver on what we have agreed to do. This means implementing the right reforms, taking more strategic decisions, positioning ourselves stronger in international competition and last but not least think in larger (European!) scales and strengthen our strategic value chains.
Contact: Asdin El Habassi
Contact: Carolina Vigo
Contact: Malthe Munkøe
priorities in the area of IP, she also suggested that SMEs should be supported in their enforcement efforts insofar counterfeiting piracy, unlawful transfer of technology and other unlawful practices that ultimately would deprive right holders of their legitimate rights or interfere with their ability to exercise them.
Contact: Elena Bertolotto
Contact: Jessie Fernandes
Contact: Pieter Baert
- 12-13 November: Healthy Workplaces Summit
- 13 November: Presentation of BusinessEurope’s priorities for the institutional cycle 2019-2024
- 14 November: Innovative, collaborative, regional: smart intellectual property for a competitive Europe
- 25-27 November: SME Assembly 2019