BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2020-05
Green Deal: exchange with Commissioner Sinkevičius
“BusinessEurope supports the European Commission’s ambition of putting Europe on a pathway to a sustainable future through the Green Deal. A strong economic pillar will be essential, and it will be the only way to ensure that the transition is a success for European industry”, highlighted Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, in a meeting with the European Commissioner for Environment and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius on 7 February. The meeting touched upon the main environmental initiatives presented under the European Green Deal, such as biodiversity and circular economy. “One of the key aims for European business is to create a functioning market for secondary raw materials and circular products”, Beyrer pointed out, in line with BusinessEurope’s circular economy priorities paper. He added that it will be important to see how the circular economy action plan will link to the industrial strategy. Europe’s competitiveness will need to be at the centre of any future initiatives.
Contact: Cecilia Serrano-Piedecasas
Innovation policies are pivotal for the Green Deal
“European companies are delivering on sustainable competitiveness”, said Deputy Director General Alexandre Affre at the Conference “Energising the Green Deal: leading ambitious climate action with social justice and innovation”, organised by the Jacques Delors Institute on 6 February. Referring to the BusinessEurope’s strategy paper on Research & Innovation, Affre particularly emphasised the role of companies in developing innovation and called for more and smarter public funding, innovation-friendly legislation, skilled people and enhanced cooperation. “To deliver on the Green Deal both in terms of European sustainability and competitiveness, Europe has to address companies’ needs in terms of research and innovation and accelerate the deployment of existing technologies”.
Contact: Carolina Vigo
Ratification of EU-Vietnam agreements of high economic and strategic value
The European Parliament on 12 February backed the free trade and investment protection agreements between the European Union and Vietnam. These are the first comprehensive deals being struck with a developing country and will be a stepping stone towards further economic integration between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “The agreements will also help companies take full potential of the manifold economic opportunities in a dynamic country of almost 100 million people with a GDP growth expected at 6.5% in 2020”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. BusinessEurope believes that if the EU wants to become more geostrategic, it needs to have a stronger presence in Asia. These agreements will consolidate the EU’s presence in the region and put European companies of all sizes on equal footing with competitors from countries that already have agreements with Vietnam, like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP11.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
European business calls for paradigm shift in relations with Africa
The European Commission will launch a new comprehensive strategy with Africa in March 2020. This strategy presents a major opportunity to build on the positive momentum created by the announcement of the Africa-Europe Alliance in 2018 and truly turn EU-Africa relations into a partnership of equals. A closer economic relationship between the EU and Africa is an important priority for the European business community. Therefore, BusinessEurope addressed a letter to the European Commission this Tuesday, setting out issues that are key for future EU-Africa relations to deliver on growth, jobs and sustainable development. Our priorities include the implementation and broadening of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements, the creation of innovative financing instruments to leverage EU private investment in Africa, more coordinated support for education and professional training that provide people with the skills required by the labour market and stronger public-private dialogue.
Contact: Benedikt Wiedenhofer
VAT group discusses priorities with Croatian Presidency
“The proposed definitive VAT system will significantly increase compliance costs as businesses, and in particular SMEs, will have significant difficulties identifying the different VAT rates” – this was the key message of the VAT Policy Group when it welcomed Ingrid Babić and Lidija Cvitić, Fiscal Counsellors of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Croatia to the EU, to its meeting on 10 February. Following a discussion on the priorities of the Croatian Presidency to the Council of the EU in VAT affairs, and the proposal on the Definitive VAT system in particular, the group noted that further VAT reforms should take into account the fast-changing (digitalised) economy, which blurs the line between goods and services more and more. Any VAT initiative which does not take these commercial and technological developments into account, is likely to lead to tax uncertainty.
Contact: Pieter Baert
- 19 February: European Commission Digital Communication
- 20 February: Special European Council
- 26 February: European Semester Winter Package
- 27 February: Competitiveness Council