Even though European industry continues to be a global leader in many industrial sectors, being responsible for 37% of global manufacturing exports, it is under severe pressure. The EU’s share in global manufacturing exports declined by nearly 7% between 2004 and 2013, by far the sharpest loss of global trade in manufactured goods. BusinessEurope outlined its views on a European industrial strategy that would allow strengthening the ability of member states and companies to face global competition. Read more.
What to do with non-recyclable waste? The cement industry in the EU has found a solution to incorporate this kind of waste into the circular economy. Waste materials are used as raw materials, as a source of energy, or both, to replace natural mineral resources and fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and gas during the cement production process. The current average rate in the EU of use of waste for this process is 41%, with some member states achieving a rate of 95%. This example and over 50 others of innovative ways in which industry, small and medium-sized enterprises and other business add to the circular economy in Europe are available on the Circular Economy Industry Platform, a web tool managed by BusinessEurope and its national members.
On 1 September 2017, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will enter fully into force. Signed on 27 June 2014 and ratified by the European Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada - the parliament of Ukraine - and all EU 28 member states, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2016. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, commented: “Delivering on the adoption of the association agreement sends a strong message that the EU and Ukraine can work together in an environment of cooperation for the growth and prosperity of their people, based on shared values and principles”.
Eurostat’s latest unemployment figures, released today, show that the average unemployment rate in the EU was 7.7% in June, remaining stable compared to May. Compared to the same month last year, unemployment is down by 0.9 percentage points. However, between EU member states there are still large differences, with unemployment rates being the lowest in the Czech Republic (2.9%) and Germany (3.8%) and highest in Greece (21.7%) and Spain (17.1%). Following the data release, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer commented: “Unemployment in the European Union is at its lowest level since the economic crisis started in 2008, indicating that the benefits of labour market reforms carried out in recent years are gradually paying off. However, while this is a strong improvement compared to 2013 heights, unemployment remains above pre-crisis levels, suggesting that reforms are still required in a number of members states to support strong job creation.”
Digitalisation is essential for European prosperity; it requires that the EU triggers a real digital transformation and brings forward globally competitive proposals that enable distinctive innovation. To take full advantage of digitalisation and compete effectively worldwide, the EU must urgently complete the European digital single market. This will allow and encourage people and businesses to fully exploit online activities, ultimately defining a new scenario for doing business in Europe. Today, even the smallest firms can leverage the Internet to compete with the largest multinationals. Approximately 12% of global trade in goods is conducted via international e-commerce. Surveys show that even the smallest enterprises can be born global and 86% of tech-based start-ups report some type of cross-border activity. Read more
European business is extremely concerned by the imminent extension of the US sanctions to Russia and the potential impact on the EU's energy supply. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope said: "The EU heavily relies on external energy suppliers despite strong efforts to diversify and generate alternative sources. Russia is a key supplier of the EU. The potential and far-reaching extension of US sanctions to Russia concentrated in the energy sector will have a strong impact on the EU's energy supply. Ultimately business and consumers in the EU will pay the price." The EU is a long-term strategic ally of the US and we share a common approach on international sanctions. Read more
BusinessEurope closely follows the developments of the draft Supreme Court Bill on the judicial reform in Poland. Apart from questions on the process, where we share the Polish social partners’ doubts regarding insufficient consultations, it is mainly the potential consequences for international investments that cause great concern among the European business community. The European Commission has a legitimate reason to act as guardian of the European treaties. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope: “A stable, predictable and independent judiciary is crucial not only for a thriving democracy, but also for the attraction of international investments in Poland’s growing economy. While making improvements to the judiciary system is legitimate, such a process must at all stages respect the constitutional principles and procedures and preserve the rule of law. We call on Polish lawmakers to reassess the currently discussed draft bill and to ensure its conformity with our common European values.”
BusinessEurope welcomes the announcement of a political agreement in the EU-Japan free-trade agreement negotiations. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said: “After hard negotiations, the EU and Japan are sending a very positive signal to the world. We still need to see the text of the agreement but having two leading G20 economies agreeing on expanding trade and investment ties is extremely positive. We are asking G20 to take action against protectionism and this is a concrete example of how this could be done.” Read the full press release.