Achieving well-functioning apprenticeship schemes that are both cost-effective for enterprises and reflecting their skills needs are the priority issues that need to be addressed to tap the business case for apprenticeships. This was one of the key messages by Maxime Cerutti, Director of Social Affairs, during a conference of the European social partners on 26-27 May. The conference discussed the outcomes of recent separate projects by the European employers on the cost-effectiveness of apprenticeship schemes and by the ETUC on a proposal for a European quality framework for apprenticeships. BUSINESSEUROPE stands ready for further discussions with the European Commission, member states and trade unions on the future of apprenticeships. Video - Photos
Companies are instrumental in making global supply chains more sustainable - the challenge is to build a business model that is competitive, while promoting high-level environmental and social standards. This was a key message of BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus J. Beyrer at the high-level seminar on sustainable supply chains, organised by BUSINESSEUROPE and joined by top speakers including European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on 25 May in Brussels. In today’s globalised world, companies operate in extremely complex supply chains and they need to engage actively in making their supply chains sustainable, taking societal and environmental needs into account. BUSINESSEUROPE hopes that today’s open and constructive discussion with the EU Presidency, the European Commission and high-level speakers from companies, consumers and NGOs will help make the relationship between trade, social and environmental policies more effective and mutually beneficial. Photos
On 20 May, the Council of Presidents of BUSINESSEUROPE was received by H.M. Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in the Palace Noordeinde, The Hague. The Presidents were individually presented to the King and they had discussions on the recent European economic and political developments, international affairs and societal challenges.
Photo © ANP, Robin van Lonkhuisen
BUSINESSEUROPE fully supports the European Commission in its efforts to increase cross-border e-commerce and further develop the digital economy. The package presented today is timely because while e-commerce is continuously increasing at national level, cross-border online sales are still underdeveloped, also as a result of remaining fragmentation in the single market. BUSINESSEUROPE’s Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: "Cross-border e-commerce in Europe is still underdeveloped with only 20% of Internet users buying online from other EU member states. Complex rules, remaining fragmentation and a lack of confidence are rightly addressed by the package presented today. Still, we are concerned about the lack of clarity on certain elements of the geo-blocking proposal where loopholes may exist."
“Greece has done significant efforts and the political debate on the business location starts to go in the right direction. But more needs to be done. Greece needs more industry and more large companies to be involved successfully in high-end international value chains, it needs to broaden its tax base instead of increasingly taxing those who already pay taxes, it needs a justice reform to attract more foreign direct investment and it needs to be more outward-looking and export-oriented”, BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus J. Beyrer said on 24 May at the Industrial conference of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in Athens.
BUSINESSEUROPE discussed the future WTO work programme with Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The World Trade Organisation is currently discussing the post-Nairobi agenda; European business is keen to provide input on topics that are relevant for today's trade relations such as digital trade, non-tariff barriers, energy, raw materials or investment.
BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus J. Beyrer met Mr Zeng Peiyan, Chairman of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) and former Vice-Prime Minister of China to explore the creation of a dialogue on key bilateral economic and trade subjects with a view to strengthen ties. It would involve Chinese and European CEOs, senior politicians and think tanks. This proposed “2-track dialogue” would take place annually and act as an important civil-society advisory body for both China and the EU.
Following the release today by the European Commission of its 2016 country-specific reform recommendations, BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus J. Beyrer commented: "In recent years our members have indicated that whilst the Commission has generally made the right reform recommendations, the problem has been a lack of implementation by EU member states. Whilst we need to look at today’s country-specific recommendations in more detail, we urge governments to take the Commission’s advice seriously and use it to increase reform impetus. In particular, where the Commission has granted member states more time to reach fiscal targets, we urge them to use this wisely, looking in particular at the scope to increase the efficiency of public expenditure and reduce tax burdens."