The European Commission took an important step forward in the Circular Economy Action Plan with a publication of the Plastics Strategy on 16 January. The Strategy settles an ambitious target – by 2030, all plastics packaging placed on the EU market should be reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner. More than half of plastics waste in general should be recyclable by 2030 while today it is less than 30%. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “European industry is fully committed to shifting to a more circular Europe, but the circular economy needs to make business sense. We welcome today’s Plastics Strategy, which is relatively balanced between environmental and economic considerations. We welcome the European Commission’s intention to look for voluntary pledges to boost recycled plastics rather than immediately jump to regulatory actions."
On 1 January 2018, a decade after it became a member of the European Union, Bulgaria took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time. With the motto “united we stay strong”, the Presidency will focus on three key objectives: a secure Europe, a stable Europe, a solidary Europe. With numerous important files to be finalised in the next 6 months, the Bulgarian Presidency must continue gathering consensus on important topics and ensure that discussions move forward at good speed. BusinessEurope calls for a strong emphasis on advancing the Future of Europe debate – including the topics of the EMU, MFF and industrial policy; addressing barriers to the EU single market; promoting an ambitious trade policy; and pushing forward the necessary economic and social reforms.
Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and in particular completing the banking union is likely to be a key topic for discussion amongst EU policy-makers in 2018, and we hope that EU leaders will be able to make firm decisions to stengthen our common currency, as scheduled in June. In particular, a full banking union must be put in place, with rapid agreement and implementation of an EU deposit insurance scheme, alongside the existing supervision and resolution pillars, needed to address the continued fragmentation of EU savings and credit markets.
The chart on the left illustrates this fragmentation by showing the claims held by Euro-area banks in different countries. Read more
“Many refugees have been granted the right to stay in Europe in the last years. They should be supported in their efforts to be active on labour markets as quickly as possible. Obtaining results is the best way for Europe and its Member States to deliver on our social values. Pragmatism should prevail when adapting legal frameworks to encourage employers to hire refugees”, said BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer during the launch of a new partnership for the labour market integration of refugees on 20 December 2017. The partnership is built around a multi-stakeholder approach involving the European Commission and the European social and economic partners - BusinessEurope, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest (CEEP), the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Eurochambres. It aims to facilitate labour market integration through awareness raising and sharing of information on national and local initiatives. Partnership agreement - Photo: European Union , 2017
Today, the European Council confirmed that sufficient progress has been made pertaining to phase one of the Brexit negotiations. This will allow to start negotiations on the transition and the framework for the future EU-UK relation. Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, commented: “Today’s decision is a positive step but we are far from the final deal. Companies are under time pressure as they need to plan ahead. We must step up negotiations. We urge negotiators to make additional efforts as we enter phase two discussions.” Business needs certainty and a level playing field that allows trade and investment to remain stable. The worst case, a no-deal, cliff-edge Brexit, must be avoided. It would have severe economic consequences and would negatively affect companies’ business activities in the EU27 and in the UK. The months ahead will be critical and we count on strong political will on both sides to find the best solution for business and citizens.
The EU Single Market has enabled European and British companies to set up complex supply chains and close-knit partnerships that benefit competitiveness, growth and employment in both economies. With so much at stake, businesses are naturally concerned about the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations between the EU27 and the UK. BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “The worst possible outcome for business would be a no-deal “cliff-edge” Brexit. Business wants to avoid this. And companies need certainty and time to prepare and adjust to the post-Brexit situation. However, with time pressure rising, this possibility, although undesirable, is not entirely implausible. With today’s publication we aim to show what a cliff-edge scenario would mean for European businesses from the concrete perspective of individual companies”. More - Brochure
Ahead of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 10-14 December in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Council of Presidents of BusinessEurope adopted a Statement that reiterates the importance of the WTO as the guardian of multilateral trade. European businesses are alarmed by recent developments that pose obstacles to move negotiations forward and harm the ability of the WTO to effectively implement the rules through its dispute settlement system. For BusinessEurope the solution is twofold: WTO members need to consider the negotiation of new rules, adapted to today’s trading reality. But they should also take all the necessary measures to safeguard the institutional capacity of the WTO. The business community stands ready to support bridging existing differences. In a video statement, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said: “We count on the meeting in Buenos Aires to have an outcome where the WTO will be even stronger than it is now and where it will continue to be a key pillar for free and fair trade”. Please find the Statement and the video.