BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2022-17
EU-U.S. TTC: it is important to achieve concrete deliverables
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer participated in the stakeholder roundtable of the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Paris on 16 May. Together with high-level participants from both sides of the Atlantic, he discussed the priorities for the future work of the TTC in trade and secure supply chains. Beyrer highlighted that the TTC is a much-needed platform for a high-level EU-U.S. dialogue that goes beyond political cycles. It has already delivered in substance with the common approach to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Now we need to outline the new areas of cooperation that can lead to concrete outcomes to boost the Transatlantic economy. “The EU and USA should work together to improve our common security through export controls, energy security, and access to raw materials. We need to promote regulatory cooperation and conformity assessment, reducing trade barriers, both in our bilateral trade, and also multilaterally”, he concluded.
Contact: Peter Bay Kirkegaard
It is time to modernise the EU-Morocco trade agreement
“Morocco is the EU’s biggest trading partner in Africa and its geographical proximity makes it a natural choice for European companies that seek to diversify their sources of supply”, said Pierre Gattaz, President of BusinessEurope, at the 1st EU-Morocco Business Dialogue on 12 May 2022. The event, which was co-organised by the Moroccan business federation CGEM, Eurocham Morocco and BusinessEurope, brought together representatives of the European and Moroccan business communities to discuss EU-Morocco economic relations with EU Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and the Moroccan Minister for Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour. The event was also an opportunity for the three business organisations to stress again the policy recommendations tabled in their joint statement Modernisation Pact on Trade and Investment between the Kingdom of Morocco & the European Union from September 2021. Gattaz highlighted that while Morocco holds a lot of potential for our businesses, the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, which governs our trade relations, was negotiated more than 20 years ago and does not cover many of the issues that are important for contemporary trade, such as services, investment, or public procurement. “BusinessEurope is convinced that modernising our agreement would make a major contribution towards creating the conditions for even closer economic ties between the EU and Morocco”, he concluded.
Contact: Benedikt Wiedenhofer
Debating the Green Deal at the European Parliament
“To counter the current crisis, it is essential that we rapidly make decarbonised affordable energy more widely available, while keeping our expectations on capacity and infrastructure realistic”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer at the high-level conference “From a European to a Global Green Deal', which took place in the European Parliament on Thursday 12 May. The event was organised jointly by the Science and Technology in Society forum (STS forum) and the European Parliament's Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA). Chaired by MEP Christian Ehler and Hiroshi Komiyama, from STS forum, it brought together political, industrial and academic leaders aiming at a constructive exchange of views among leading experts on cooperation opportunities in science and technology among the EU, Japan and the rest of the world, on how to leverage the Green Deal.
Contact: Asdin El Habbassi
Five must be-s for an effective digital product passport
“BusinessEurope supports the European Commission’s proposal for an Ecodesign Sustainable Products Regulation, as a unique opportunity to achieve a functioning EU market for secondary raw materials and circular economy”, said Alexandre Affre, Deputy Director General, at the hearing organised by the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) on 16 May on the digital product passport. “Companies also welcome the objectives of the proposed digital product passport, as an enabler of information transfer across value chains”, he added. Affre spelled out the five “must be-s” for an effective digital product passport. Firstly, data to be disclosed must be relevant for circular economy purposes and be disclosed on a “need to know” rather than a “nice to know” basis. Secondly, data requirements need to be product specific as different product groups have different characteristics and potentials vis-à-vis circularity. Thirdly, the digital product passport shall grant differentiated access rights to the recipients of the information, depending on their needs. Fourthly, adequate protection of confidential and sensitive information shall be ensured to maintain our European competitive advantage on green technologies. Lastly, it will be important that the implementation of the digital product passport is based on good quality and comparable data. For further information on BusinessEurope’s views on the digital product passport, please consult our position paper.
Contact: Carolina Vigo
Supporting youth employment through a holistic approach
A holistic approach that combines aspects of employment and education and training policies is the best way to foster youth employment. The framework for fostering young people’s transition from education and training into work should be set through the better alignment of education and training systems and labour markets so that employers’ skills needs are better reflected in curricula. Within this, it is important to strengthen opportunities for work-based learning, notably apprenticeships, as the practical skills acquired in the workplace significantly enhance employability. Young people should also be encouraged to consider entrepreneurship. These were the key messages given my Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope Director of Social Affairs, during the European Commission’s conference on youth employment that took place on 12 May. Additionally, it is important that measures aiming to support youth employment, such as the youth guarantee and the new Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve initiative are integrated with other activation measures and support services, such as careers advice. A focus on young people not in employment, education, or training (NEETs) is particularly needed at the national level in the countries with high rates of NEETs.
Contact: Robert Plummer
Dialogue with the Union for Mediterranean labour ministers
On 17-18 May 2022 the social partners from both sides of the Mediterranean met in Marrakesh with labour ministers to discuss employment perspectives and employability, in particular among youth and women. Economic growth, job creation and skills development are crucial for embracing green and digital transitions on both sides of the Mediterranean. The twin transition results in a profound structural change, but also offers employment opportunities, in particular for those further from the labour market. The current serious labour shortages, structural skills mismatches and relatively high inactivity rate – a phenomenon even more pronounced in the Southern shore of the Mediterranean – are serious bottlenecks for the economic growth and innovation. These challenges are best addressed in cooperation with social partners who understand specificities of different sectors and local labour markets. These were the main messages delivered by Christos A. Ioannou, member of BusinessEurope’s Social Affairs Committee, at the Policy Conference on 17 May. During the restricted Ministerial Meeting on 18 May, social partners jointly expressed their wish to contribute actively to the establishment and development of strong, independent and effective social dialogue, at the bi- and/or tripartite levels in the 41 Union for Mediterranean Member States. To this objective they will continue to strengthen their capacity for autonomous action and their involvement in the decision-making processes within the member countries, in the two regions, and in the context of the activities carried out at the Union for the Mediterranean level. Social partners have presented their joint statement in which they agree to continue their exchanges on labour market policy issues and social dialogue in the coming years. They are looking forward to the Union for Mediterranean Social Dialogue Forum in the fall of 2023.
Contact: Anna Kwiatkiewicz-Mory
Investor-state dispute settlement: multilateral solutions preferable but not moving fast enough
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a hearing in the framework of its own-initiative report on “Multilateral investor-state arbitration court: assessment of the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) process and its achievements in light of civil society recommendations” on 13 May. BusinessEurope was represented by Sofia Bournou, Senior Adviser in the International Relations Department, who reiterated BusinessEurope’s position on the need to reform the investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) to address legitimate concerns and to improve transparency and the effectiveness of the mechanism. “We welcome the UNCITRAL process as it promotes a multilateral solution to these concerns”, she stated. While this process is concentrated on the procedural elements of the ISDS, it is an important first step towards a broader reform. Within this process, the EU has submitted a proposal to establish a Multilateral Investment Court. Bournou commented: “BusinessEurope sees this proposal positively. Nevertheless, it is not clear to us, at this stage, how far this proposal will go, as we see some reluctance by important partners, such as the USA or Japan, to support it. This is a key point, because European companies need a level playing field when it comes to investment protection and access to dispute settlement”.
Contact: Bournou Sofia
- 3 June: BusinessEurope Council of Presidents
- 8-9 June: Reuters Event: Responsible Business Europe 2022
- 15-16 June: POLITICO Live’s Competitive Europe Summit 2022
- 26-28 June: G7 Germany 2022
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