Germany, which took over the rotating presidency of the EU on 1 July 2020, has a key role to play in putting the European Union on the right track to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and revitalise economic activity across the continent. In a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European business community expressed support for the 6 main priorities of the German Presidency. We count on Germany to deliver on those priorities by focussing on the following: a determined financial and non-financial European response to the crisis; the Green Deal as a key pillar of the recovery; facilitating innovation; ensuring that member states improve the performance of labour markets; ensuring that basic requirements under the rule of law are respected; international trade continuing to play a key role. EU funds must be used to increase the earning and job creation capacity of European business, and we need to strengthen the European single market. BusinessEurope is looking forward to working constructively with the German Presidency to overcome the crisis and ensure that Europe not only bounces back as rapidly as possible but also that the EU becomes even stronger than before the crisis. - Read the letter
BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said: “In order to minimise long-term scarring to the European economy, the EU and its member states need to progressively reopen their economies and put in place a coordinated economic response to support enterprise investment, consumer demand and employment. All enterprises, including SMEs and services of general interest, need support to recover from the shock of the crisis and become more resilient again. Europe needs a growth strategy including the green and digital transitions but not limited to these two crucial transitions, and improving competitiveness. The European social partners presented today their new autonomous framework agreement on digitalisation. It is important that the Commission fully respects the autonomy of the social partners.” Read more, read the full speech
Ahead of the crucial discussions on the European recovery plan of the members of the European Council via video conference on 19 June 2020, BusinessEurope sent a letter to Presidents Michel, von der Leyen, Sassoli and Prime Minister Plenković.
BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz said: "The EU and its member states need to progressively reopen their economies and put in place a coordinated economic response to support business - and SMEs in particular - to recover from the shock of the crisis. It is essential that the members of the European Council come to a rapid agreement on an ambitious and well coordinated European recovery plan to overcome the COVID-19 crisis."
Read our letter to Charles Michel
Meeting by video conference on 5 June, the Council of Presidents of BusinessEurope unanimously re-elected Pierre Gattaz as President of BusinessEurope for a second mandate of 2 years. Gattaz said: "Europe’s successful recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will be the focus of all my attention during the next 2 years. The European Commission has proposed an ambitious recovery plan for the European Union. I support the proposed recovery instrument but the money must be well spent in order to support investment and bring about upward convergence. The Green Deal and the digital transformation need to be key pillars of Europe’s growth strategy, but this strategy needs to go beyond these two pillars. Repairing our Single Market, strengthening key industrial value chains and eco-systems, acting as the champion of rules-based trade and fostering structural reforms in member states is essential to restore growth and employment across our European Union. Prosperity is the basis to invest in social and environmental protection. This fundamental truth will continue to guide BusinessEurope’s actions for the community."
"The EU, in common with the rest of the global economy, is clearly experiencing the deepest recession since the 1930s", Director General Markus J. Beyrer said on publication of BusinessEurope's Spring Economic Outlook 2020. Our central forecast is for the EU economy to fall by around 8% in 2020, and rebound with around 6% growth next year. "As we progressively reopen our economies", Beyrer commented, "we will need to ensure we have a co-ordinated EU response in place to support consumer demand, business investment and maintain employment". A coordinated fiscal stimulus remains essential to strengthening the recovery and minimising the long-term scarring to the EU economy. With the right policy response in place, we expect that the economy can recover enough to operate just slightly below its pre-crisis level towards the end of 2021. Read the full document or watch our Economics Director James Watson explain the measures needed.
Europe will only meet the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 crisis with our vital business eco-system intact and ready to drive the recovery. This will require member states to act in a spirit of solidarity. Now is the time to focus on how to recover together from this crisis. Controlling the economic impacts of the crisis whilst preserving our economies and societies requires a co-ordinated EU emergency response and an effective risk-based exit strategy. In addition, the EU and its member states must work with the social partners to immediately define a clear, ambitious, predictable and co-ordinated EU recovery plan under 4 pillars - namely an investment pillar, an economic pillar, an international pillar and a governance pillar, to create a regulatory and fiscal environment for businesses that enables them to invest, grow and create jobs. These were the key messages by Pierre Gattaz, BusinessEurope President, and Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, in a virtual meeting with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 15 May.