There is a business case for diversity. More diversity in teams and in management is linked with higher returns, as well as more creative and innovative organisations. An increasing number of businesses actively seek ways to tap into the potential of a diverse workforce. Practice shows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Initiatives need to be company-led and effective at all levels. These were the main messages from Director General Markus J. Beyrer who met European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Ms Věra Jourová when they both addressed a high-level roundtable on 4 February 2016 in Brussels.
Today’s announcement of an agreement between the EU and the USA on a revised framework for international data flows (the “EU-US Privacy Shield”) is of utmost importance for businesses and citizens in Europe and the United States. Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “It is now important to swiftly finalise the details of the newly reached agreement and then grant companies a reasonable transition period to comply with it. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises will need time to adapt. BUSINESSEUROPE calls on national authorities to contribute constructively to the good functioning of the new arrangement and ensure a consistent European approach to transatlantic data transfers. This will help ensure common rules in the digital single market to the benefit of Europe’s economy”.
Speaking at today's press conference, Director General Markus J. Beyrer discussed possible ways for the EU to move forward in the debate on whether or not to amend the EU anti-dumping legislation as a response to the expiry of provisions of China’s protocol of accession to the WTO. There are currently three options on the table, and the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament need to engage with each other in an open debate if the EU is to take a decision before the end of 2016. Equally, China cannot sit still in this process because this question is not just about China, this question involves China. Anti-dumping is in most cases a response to problems generated by overcapacity.
The best path to sustainable growth in China is through an open economy that fosters a level playing field between foreign and domestic companies. China should therefore not be tempted to restrict foreign businesses from participating fully in its economy at a time of slower growth. European businesses can provide best practices and answers to many of the challenges that China’s economy is currently facing. Nevertheless, this year also features some complex decisions in our bilateral economic relationship with China. These are some of the key messages from the panel on the state of play in EU-China relations and the way ahead organised by BUSINESSEUROPE on 28 January with Director General Markus J. Beyrer, European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce Joerg Wuttke. China’s slowing growth, EU’s decision on how to treat China in anti-dumping investigations after December 2016 and the EU-China investment negotiations will top the agenda for 2016.
“Too much regulation and prescriptiveness can stifle innovation. That is why Europe needs the Innovation Principle, complementing the precautionary approach, to protect Europe’s ability to innovate. We cannot only assess risks, we must also grasp opportunities”, Markus J. Beyrer told Education and Research Ministers at the informal Competitiveness Council in Amsterdam. Beyrer commented on the Innovation Principle and other topics such as scientific evidence, better regulation and innovation, which were discussed at the conference “A better framework for innovation” organised on 26 January by BUSINESSEUROPE, the ERT and the ERF in Brussels.
To build a political momentum around the need to make Europe a better place to innovate was the objective of the conference organised by BUSINESSEUROPE, the ERT and the ERF. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BUSINESSEUROPE, stressed the key role that the Innovation Principle can play in creating the right framework for innovation and foster a beneficial culture of entrepreneurship. It is proposed to enrich and improve the quality and application of EU legislation, he added, to stimulate confidence and investment in innovation. High-level speakers and key stakeholders gathered at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU to discuss concrete proposals to boost innovation governance, better innovation regulation and science-based policy-making.
Ahead of the publication of the European Commission’s anti-tax avoidance package, which is expected to set out a proposal on how the EU should implement the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting agreement, BUSINESSEUROPE’s Director General Markus J. Beyrer commented: “European business fully shares the European Commission’s objective to fight tax fraud and evasion. It is also important to ensure international corporate taxation promotes open markets and investment across borders. However, the EU must not act as lone front-runner in implementing the OECD BEPS agreement, and must not undermine the competitiveness of EU industry or damage the EU’s attractiveness as an investment location.”
“The EU should support SMEs both through a strengthened EU pro-SME action agenda and through energising the national SME policies”, Markus Beyrer, Director General of BUSINESSEUROPE, said at the SME Intergroup meeting convened by its President, MEP Otmar Karas, on 26 January. Kristin Schreiber, Director at the European Commission DG GROW, and other leading speakers from SME organisations made contributions. BUSINESSEUROPE supports the approach of integrating SME elements in key EU policies, but also calls for strengthening the EU horizontal SME policy, taking the Small Business Act (SBA) one step further. A revised and enhanced SBA would also help develop more and better national pro-SME initiatives. Photo © EuroCommerce (Mette Bjerg)
“We urgently need to strengthen our European economy. We must continue with structural reforms in our respective countries and further improve the governance of our Economic and Monetary Union. There is no time to waste”.
“We need stronger political will to work together in Europe to address common challenges. Fragmentation of Europe would be a total disaster. The answer to migrant crisis is to act together, we need a European answer.” Speaking at the World Economic Forum session on “The future of Europe”, involving Prime Ministers Mark Rutte, Manuel Valls, Alexis Tsipras and Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, BUSINESSEUROPE President Emma Marcegaglia gave her views on the current overall business climate and key issues to be tackled in 2016. Economic governance of the EMU must improve in Europe, she stressed. More ambitions to make international trade negotiations a success, in particular in ongoing transatlantic negotiations, are needed. And the ongoing fourth industrial revolution would increase Europe’s competitiveness if we can successfully manage the digital transformation. To Europe’s manufacturing industry it could add a gross value worth 1.25 trillion euros. But if we miss this revolution, the potential losses can be up to 600 billion euros by 2025. This would be like losing over 10% of Europe’s industrial base. “The answer to our problems is more Europe, not less Europe”, President Marcegaglia concluded.