BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2022-06
“We need to be serious about addressing market fragmentation in Africa to reduce the cost and risk of doing business on the continent. In this regard, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Global Gateway and the EU trade agreements with the continent need to be seen as mutually reinforcing initiatives that contribute to the same goal”, said Luisa Santos, Deputy Director General of BusinessEurope, at the debate “The South Africa perspective: Can the EU and Africa reboot their relationship?”. The event, which was organised jointly by Euronews and Africanews, took place on 17 February on the sidelines of the EU-Africa Business Forum and brought together stakeholders from business, academia and the public sector from Europe and Africa to discuss how to take the relationship between the continents to the next level. “In order to create conditions conducive to more investment in value adding sectors on the continent, it is essential that African governments empower the private sector and create a favourable investment climate”, Santos concluded. Watch the full debate.
Contact: Benedikt Wiedenhofer
Proper enforcement of the Stability and Growth Pact, revised following the conclusion of the ongoing Economic Governance Review, preferably with simplified rules and reduced pro-cyclicality and reflecting the post-pandemic context, will be essential to help Member States put their public finances on a sustainable footing and strengthening investment confidence. This was the key message of BusinessEurope's Economic Director, James Watson at the conference “The way forward for EU economic governance”, organised by the European Commission's Directorate‑General for Economic and Financial Affairs and the European Economic and Social Committee on 22 February. The virtual event also featured the European Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni. James noted that more attention needs to be directed at the quality of investments, with a greater focus on the proportion of Member States’ expenditure towards growth enhancing expenditures, particularly public investment.
Contact: James Watson
On 21 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a webinar on “Supply chains and the case of reshoring”, to discuss how more sustainable supply chains can lead to greater resilience and what role reshoring can play in this endeavour. Representing BusinessEurope, Sofia Bournou, Senior Adviser in the International Relations Department, presented our work on disruptions in supply chains. Our position paper discusses the challenges that companies face in this context and our recommendations to EU policymakers. “The EU shall develop a multi-disciplinary approach when it comes to addressing dependencies and shortages of critical raw materials in particular, focusing on creating the right conditions and incentives to support investments and production in Europe”, Bournou argued. “Supply diversification can help chains become more resilient. To this end, the EU’s trade policy can play an important role by opening up opportunities for companies, for instance through trade agreements”, she added. Important questions were raised in the discussion, including how to strengthen supply chain resilience while maintaining a balance between security of supply on the one hand – key to achieve digital transformation – and more sustainable supply chains on the other hand. The discussion on the resilience of supply chains will continue with the active participation of BusinessEurope.
Contact: Sofia Bournou
In order to minimise costly VAT registration procedures for businesses making sales in multiple Member States, it is essential to further expand the VAT One-Stop Shop. This was the key-message of the VAT-Group when it welcomed Patrice Pillet and Ludwig de Winter (Head of Unit and Deputy Head of Unit on VAT at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union) to its meeting on 22 February. In light of the launch of the public consultation on "VAT in the Digital Age", the group expressed its support to the European Commission in the efforts to use digital tools to both simplify the VAT-system and strengthen the fight against VAT fraud. In particular, the group underlined that the VAT One-Stop Shop has been a significant force for VAT simplification and should be regarded as an example of the strength of EU-cooperation between tax authorities. However, the group noted that there is still room for further strengthening the One-Stop Shop by expanding its scope or by bringing in a VAT refund mechanism.
Contact: Pieter Baert
The European Commission on 23 February presented its proposal for regulation aimed at ensuring fairness in the data economy - the so-called Data Act. This initiative is part of the EU Data Strategy to unlock the potential of data and to better exploit the massive increase of volume of data co-generated by humans and machines. In the global data competition, sensible and competitive legal frameworks must empower business and foster investments. The EU’s Data Act should not become an obstacle for EU companies to innovate and to grow. It should not force data sharing where no market failure exists. As a social partner and representative of national industry federations, BusinessEurope supports the initiatives that aim at creating a more vibrant data economy. Actions in this regard should be reasonable to avoid chilling effect on EU business. Read our press release.
Contact: Svetlana Stoilova
- 28 February: Monitoring and evaluation in lifelong guidance – towards future European standards?
- 1-2 March: Multi-Stakeholder Conference on the Circular Economy
- 7 March: Trade policy and European strategic autonomy
- 7-8 March: European Climate Conference
- 9 March: A successful transition: from accessible low-carbon energy to sustainable finance
- 9-10 March: Equality Forum: Solutions for gender equality in Europe
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