BusinessEurope Headlines No. 2023-19
Message to the Spanish EU Presidency: we need competitive companies to achieve economic and social progress
Presidents of BusinessEurope’s 40 member federations gathered in Madrid on 1-2 June at the invitation of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE). They presented their priorities for the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union to Nadia Calviño, First Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation. “Falling energy prices through the mild winter helped steer the EU economy away from recession, but some countries are in recession and the situation remains challenging for many businesses”, said BusinessEurope President Fredrik Persson.
He added that growth is expected to reach just 0.7% in the EU in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024, provided downside risks such as continuing geo-political instability don’t materialise. “When steering negotiations on EU policies, the Spanish Presidency should promote a strategic approach to competitiveness, help reduce regulatory burden for companies, deepen the Single Market integration, and secure energy supply at competitive prices”, he stated.
See the Madrid declaration of BusinessEurope’s Council of Presidents here.
That's a key message from Marcel Halma, Vice President Government Affairs at Solvay. Watch him talk about the main difficulties companies face and what is needed for a competitive EU.
“The transatlantic relation is based on investments that create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The EU and the USA should agree on rules for sound competition between each other and that would ensure a transatlantic and global level playing field”, said Luisa Santos, Deputy Director General of BusinessEurope, at the second EU-U.S. Trade And Labour Dialogue (TALD) Ministerial meeting that was held in Lulea, Sweden, on 31 May, in the margins of the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC). For the first time, business and trade unions on both sides of the pond have engaged in a transatlantic social dialogue and adopted a Joint Statement on Forced Labour. Recommendations focus not only on preventing goods made with forced labour to be placed on the respective markets, but also on addressing and preventing the practice in third countries. The green transition also featured on the agenda. “Transatlantic partners must look at the entire supply chain that is needed to achieve the green transition on both sides, in a spirit of fair competition and mutual reinforcement of our respective efforts towards a shared objective. An agreement to enable access to critical raw materials will be a first step”, Santos concluded.
Contact: Eleonora Catella
An updated series of short papers showcasing examples of barriers and obstacles that businesses and citizens encounter in the Single Market is now available on our website. Such tangible examples are key to facilitate informed decision-making and understand remaining bottlenecks. Examples illustrate barriers across a wide range of different policy areas - from free movement of goods and services to public procurement, due diligence or transport.
BusinessEurope welcomes the European Commission's acknowledgement of the urgent need to deepen the Single Market, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. However, actions recently proposed in the Commission Communication on the Single Market fall short of addressing barriers to the internal market. For example, 60% of current barriers to the provision of cross-border services are of the same type as 20 years ago, and now also hamper the twin transition. The EU must reinstate the idea of a Single Market as an economic union for free trade without internal barriers. A fully-fledged programme to advance the Single Market integration by removing regulatory barriers to cross-border business operations and reducing bureaucracy has the potential to unleash €713 billion by the end of 2029.
Contact: Michelle Marie Philipp
“The ongoing rolling out of the recovery and resilience national plans provide important resources for Member States to invest in future competitiveness, growth and employment. A key priority for employers is to progress towards a much-needed partnership for reforms”, highlighted Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope Director for Social Affairs, at the Porto Social Forum organised by the Portuguese government in Porto on 27 May. He added that this partnership should recognise that economic prosperity is the basis for social progress. Implementation of the European pillar of social rights should secure strong public finances, making use of the available resources where the economic and social benefits are the highest. To achieve wide support, the social dimension of Europe should prioritise investments and reforms anchored in tripartism. Important priorities are to improve skills matching, stimulate entrepreneurship and achieve higher levels of employment participation in society.
Contact: Cerutti Maxime
Employers across Europe are faced with growing recruitment difficulties. The European Year of Skills is a golden opportunity for the EU and Member States to come forward with an action plan to address labour and skills shortages. The European Commission Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) has a key role to play in this respect to support Member States to achieve the reforms needed for a more timely and effective updating of curricula, in light of the new and changing jobs due to the twin digital and green transitions. It is also essential to open up apprenticeships to adults to increase participation in training and secure training provision that is closely connected to labour market needs. These were the key messages conveyed by Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope Director for Social Affairs, at the DG REFORM conference “Supporting skills development through reforms”, held in Porto on 25 May 2023.
Contact: Cerutti Maxime
“BusinessEurope supports the ambition to establish a functioning internal market for packaging and secondary raw materials and a more circular economy, while addressing the adverse impacts of packaging waste on the environment”, commented BusinessEurope in its position paper on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal. However, in some areas such as recyclability of packaging, reuse targets, packaging minimisation and recycled content, the proposal needs further work to better contribute to a circular economy and greater harmonisation. It is vital that the regulatory landscape creates market conditions where environmental benefits and increased competitiveness goes hand in hand.
Contact: Matilda Lindblad
The COVID crisis has created both new opportunities for, and expectations on, national employers’ organisations to contribute to the definition of policies within the national and EU context that will foster a sustainable economic and labour market recovery. At the same time, this creates additional workload for national employers’ organisations and the need for more coordination with their own members as concerns the role that collective bargaining and social dialogue more broadly can play to support the recovery. These were among the main issues discussed during a BusinessEurope technical assistance project seminar, which took place on 1 June, targeted to support our member federations in dealing with the impact of COVID on social dialogue and collective bargaining. A further seminar will be held as part of the same project on 12 October on the subject of COVID and the European semester.
Contact Robert Plummer
- 6 June: Reuters Event: Responsible Business Europe 2023
- 14-15 June: International IP Enforcement Summit
- 19-20 June: TDI23 – Day of Industry
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