The business community in G20 economies is strongly concerned about the rise in protectionism around the world and the increasing opposition to trade. These concerns cannot be simply dismissed but Governments must not resort to quick-fix solutions resulting in increased barriers to trade and investment. As Chair of the B20 Trade and Investment Task Force President Marcegaglia is specially committed to ensure that trade remains a tool to promote prosperity and better leaving conditions for citizens around the world. Read the full statement here.
Today’s publication of the Winter Energy Package by the European Commission is a positive signal to speed-up the full integration of Europe’s power market. Europe’s economy must become more energy efficient and European business has always stood at the forefront of these efforts. But to get there, the European Commission should set a cost effective and realistic target. Binding energy efficiency target beyond 27% risks to undermine the EU ETS. “We support the Commission’s plan to further strengthen the functioning of the EU’s power market. The full integration of renewable electricity is essential. It is positive to put all energy sources on equal footing with clear responsibilities. We should get rid of distortions in the energy market caused by subsidies and decrease the energy costs for consumers,” commented BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. “The increase of the energy efficiency ambition level to 30 per cent with binding nature weakens the EU’s efforts to strengthen the EU ETS system as the flagship of our decarbonisation goal,” he added.
On 29 November, BusinessEurope, DIGITALEUROPE, COCIR, AIOTI and ACEA released a joint industry statement on the free flow of data. Calling for legislation to remove and prevent unjustified localisation restrictions, the statement supports the abilities of businesses to transfer data across borders. Digitalisation can be at the heart of Europe – please read the full statement here.
“Industry is the core of our economy and the basis for healthy regions across Europe. We must do everything we can to strengthen European industry. This includes an ambitious industrial strategy by the European Commission” said BusinessEurope Director for Industrial Affairs, Alexandre Affre, during a policy dialogue organized by the European Policy Centre, about what matters to make European industry competitive. On this occasion Assolombarda also presented their recent study “The performance of European firms: a benchmark analysis”, which builds on a comprehensive survey of 650 companies in the most dynamic regions of Europe. This study emphasizes that where industry is strong, the region greatly contributes to EU value added. It also indicates what makes a firm a top performer. A management of human resources that remunerates individual productivity through bonuses, a medium to high level of firm’s digitalization, the protection of intellectual property through patents and a high degree of participation at Global Value Chains (GVCs) are the specific traits associated to top performing firms. Read more
“Investment is slowly improving, but the gap is still very large. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is an important tool welcomed by businesses. But we will only make a real impact on investment if we turn Europe into a friendly place for business development. This is why the regulatory barriers of the investment plan is the most important in the long run,” said Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, during a panel debate with representatives from the European Parliament, EFSI, business, and think tanks, organised as part of the InvestWeek initiative. Markus J. Beyrer presented the just published position paper of BusinessEurope on extending the European Fund for Stratigic Investment which can be found here.
On the invitation of Republikova Unia Zamestnavatelov (RUZ) - the business federation of Slovakia - the Council of Presidents of BusinessEurope met on 24 and 25 November in Bratislava. The Presidents of our 40 member federations were received by President of the Slovak Republic Andrej Kiska. They also had an exchange of views with the Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini on the achievements of the Slovak presidency and the remaining challenges. In this context, President Marcegaglia stressed that “we need competitive companies. We need Europe and we need trade. To make Europe a better place to invest and create jobs, Member States and EU institutions must pull in the same direction to strengthen the single market, the common trade policy and the Euro area”. During their Council meeting, the Presidents of BusinessEurope member federations discussed the results of the US elections, and had a debate on the rise of isolationism and protectionism and how to strengthen the European Union capacity to answer companies and citizens’ concerns.
“Digital, the 4th Industrial Revolution seemingly knows no boundaries. Digital offers endless possibilities for European industry. Not only will digital make industries become more efficient but it will transform them entirely” said Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, at The Digital (R)evolution event in Zagreb, Tuesday 22 November. The level of development of the digital society as a prerequisite for a stronger development, application and adoption of new business was discussed in a panel discussion with more than more than 450 entrepreneurs and employers, but also the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of small and medium enterprises and trade, Mrs. Martine Dalić.
Ahead of the publication of the European Commission’s winter package, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said “We welcome the Commission's efforts to reform the power market, adapting it to reality and addressing the issue of declining investments. The ongoing transformation seems more profound and difficult than envisaged. But a coherent approach of the Energy Union is a must. That also means we need more Europe and less distortive national interventions!” He addressed Commission Vice-President Šefčovič in a joint meeting with social partners on 21 November. Beyrer warned of potential overlaps of different policy instruments. He called on the Commission for a realistic approach to cost-effectiveness that would maintain the indicative 27% energy efficiency target, as agreed by the heads of states and governments in 2014. Speech
“When talking about trade and globalisation, we witness two opposite but coexisting trends: an increasing opposition to trade agreements, seen as one evil together with globalisation, and, at the same time, requests to include in trade agreements elements that are not core trade policy”, said Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, speaking at the event “EU Trade policy: reshaping globalisation” organised on 18 November by MEP Alessia Mosca in Milan, Italy. Speaking in presence of European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, Italian Minister Carlo Calenda and ETUC Secretary General Luca Visentini, President Marcegaglia added that “There is a need to raise awareness and manage expectations by explaining what benefits can reasonably be achieved through international trade and preparing the ground to ensure greater portions of society can yield the benefits coming from trade”.
During a discussion on how to foster private investment with European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) Managing Director, Wilhelm Molterer, BusinessEurope Director General, Markus J. Beyrer, said “Weak investment in Europe is partially explained by the different crisis we are facing and great uncertainty. But many barriers preventing investment are structural. That this is why we need to urgently hammer down legislative barriers to investment in order to make Europe a more attractive place to invest in”. During the discussion, organised by Bertelsmann Stiftung, Markus J. Beyrer added “the EFSI is only one of many tools to help fostering investment but it is very welcome, also by promoting a greater risk culture in Europe and by helping to mobilise private investment.” - Photos
“The transatlantic relationship between the United States and the European Union defines the shape of the global economy as a whole. The United States are and will remain the most important partner of the European Union in shaping a fair and rule-based globalisation to the benefit of all”, said Markus J. Beyrer at the Transatlantic Business Conference 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany. He underlined the need to reinvigorate EU-US relations as both have special responsibilities when it comes to trade and globalisation. “If Europe and the Unites States want to shape globalisation according to our high standards in areas like consumer and product safety, including food safety, social and environmental protection we need to be able to conclude and implement comprehensive and modern trade agreements like TTIP”, added BusinessEurope Director General at the conference.