“Successful digitalisation is crucial to increase job creation, employment opportunities and our prosperity. We need to adapt our labour markets, our education systems and work organisation to the fast-changing needs of our economy. 40% of EU citizens have no or very low digital skills and 90% of jobs will soon require a good level of digital literacy. Closing that digital skills gap is of crucial importance. Diverse contractual arrangements are essential to match employers’ and workers’ changing needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the status of people working through collaborative economy platforms. Business models differ from each other”, underlined BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer. He was debating the role of employers and trade unions in the digital revolution with European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Luca Visentini, and the Polish social partners during a panel organised by the Presidents of the Employers and Workers groups of the European Economic and Social Committee in Sopot on 30 September 2016.
“Future growth and future jobs very much depend on what will happen in the European Union. In our dream for Europe, the European Union introduces necessary reforms and restores European unity. We focus on areas where the European Union can really add value such as external borders management, the Single Market, the strengthening of the Eurozone and an ambitious international trade policy. And member states live up to their responsibility. They stop blaming the European Union for their own shortcomings. Concrete actions are taken to fully implement the European investment plan, eliminate obstacles to productive investment, innovate, digitalise, improve access to finance, conclude new generation trade agreements”. These were the key messages conveyed by BusinessEurope President Marcegaglia to European Commission First Vice-President FransTimmermans during the Opening Gala of the European Forum for New Ideas - EFNI 2016, organised by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan and its President Henryka Bochniarz. Photos - Video
In the framework of the 3rd Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour held today in Jordan, with key leaders such as European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and Jordan’s Minister of Labour taking part, the social partners launched a joint declaration on social dialogue. This is the first time that Euro-Mediterranean trade unions and employers have agreed a joint declaration on social dialogue and its importance in addressing employment and labour market challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Social dialogue in the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region can play a vital role in strengthening economy growth and competitiveness, decent work and social cohesion, to reduce poverty and inequalities and to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy. The UfM has led important initiatives, but in the attached declaration the social partners from both regions highlight areas where better cooperation is needed.
Speaking at the European Economic and Social Committee Plenary debate on the State of the European Union on 22 September 2016 with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and ETUC’s General Secretary, Luca Visentini, Director General Markus J. Beyrer said “European companies believe in the future of Europe. All the challenges facing us (security, migration, climate change, Brexit, growth and employment) have an international dimension. Efficient solution can only be found if we work together at European level and companies are a crucial part of the answer." He added "We fully support the very clear stance that President Juncker took concerning EU trade policy. For decades, trade has brought large benefits to EU companies as well as citizens and should continue to do so.” Photos - Statement
“We are very concerned about the wave of protectionism that seems to be spreading to Europe. We have to see a stronger commitment from our politicians that they are willing to defend our economic interests in the world”, Markus J. Beyrer said at the press breakfast BusinessEurope organised on 21 September. Promoting the EU’s interests means opening new markets and creating new trade and investment opportunities for EU companies, especially SMEs. The EU has to be able to conclude important deals like TTIP or CETA but it also needs to implement its trade agreements in a shorter period. To raise awareness on CETA, the most ambitious and forward-looking agreement concluded by the EU so far, BusinessEurope published a brochure that includes sectorial views on expected benefits. CETA is not only important for EU-Canada relations but for the EU trade policy altogether. Read more
“China remains one of our most important yet challenging partners”, Markus J. Beyrer said at an EU-China seminar hosted at BusinessEurope. Speakers agreed that a number of longstanding issues for European business in China have become a higher priority since the slowing down of economic growth in China. “In order to address the current imbalances in terms of opportunities and market access, the EU-China relationship requires greater levels of reciprocity. Instead of closing down the European market, this means we need to look for ways to make business in China easier for foreign companies.” Mr Beyrer continued. At a time when Europe continues to face economic challenges and is negotiating a number of trade agreements, we have to demonstrate that trade makes sense and that trade delivers jobs and growth. Addressing imbalances is an important way of achieving this objective. The EU-China Seminar was co-organised with the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and the EU-China Business Association. - Photos
Today BusinessEurope, Keidanren, the European Business Council in Japan and the Japan Business Council in Europe sent a joint letter to President Jean-Claude Juncker, President Donald Tusk, and Premier Shinzo Abe calling for an acceleration of the EU-Japan FTA negotiations in line with the leaders’ declaration made in the margins of the G7 summit at Ise-Shima on 26 May. European and Japanese businesses underlined that the agreement should lead to commercially meaningful market access, the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and include an ambitious chapter on procurement. It is also a unique opportunity to send a clear signal to the world that we believe in free, open and fair trade as a way of promoting sustainable economic growth and improving the living conditions of our citizens.
Ahead of the meeting of heads of state and government at the Bratislava Summit on 16 September, BusinessEurope and its 40 national member federations have sent their key messages on how to build a better Europe and what they expect in future negotiations with the United Kingdom. The EU must restore unity and urgently recreate the conditions to be a prosperity and security zone. The strategy to do so should include both rapid deliverables as well as longer term solutions. Productive private and public investment is key to create better opportunities for all citizens. The negotiations to define future EU-UK relations should aim at maintaining as close economic relations as possible between the EU and the UK without undermining EU integration. The integrity of the Single Market must be maintained without cherry picking between the four Single Market freedoms. Read more - Watch Markus J. Beyrer addressing the Bratislava Summit
“Vietnam has chosen to support its growth and develop further in a sustainable way, by being open to trade and engaging closer with the European Union” Markus J. Beyrer said at the conference ‘EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement: get ready for the new opportunities’ BusinessEurope co-organised with the Embassy of Vietnam on 14 September in Brussels. Vietnam has transformed into an attractive investment destination and the EU is one of the largest foreign investors in the country; the Free Trade Agreement will open up further opportunities, especially for small companies. BusinessEurope hopes the agreement will serve as an example for the other deals the EU is negotiating with developing countries in South-East Asia. We look forward to an early implementation, so that the agreement’s expected benefits can take effect as soon as possible.
"European business is very much on board when it comes to shifting towards a circular economy. We are committed to take more actions as circular economy offers opportunities for all businesses along the entire value chain. What we need now is that EU institutions continue to amplify actions towards ‘smart policy’", BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer said at the Sustainable Industry Conference in the context of Circular Economy in Kosice, Slovakia on 13 September. He added: "Smart policy starts by making the best use of existing legislations. It is about looking at existing barriers and about making sure that it does not create a distortion between public and private operators." The high level conference was organized by BusinessEurope’s Slovak member RUZ and welcomed representatives from industry, politics and civil society. Photos - Speech
The leading business organisations of the B7, including BusinessEurope, expressed their support to a free and open trade and investment system as a most important catalyst to achieve and sustain global economic growth. To this end, the organisations fully support the completion and ratification of regional trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Japan- EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Canada–EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the cross-sectoral Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). These agreements, the most ambitious trade deals in over a decade, will unlock the economic potential across our nations. Read more
"The combination of an increasingly ageing population and a shrinking workforce poses huge challenges for our labour markets and social systems. It will place strong pressures on EU growth, public finances and living standards. One overarching means to ensure the EU is able to cope with the challenges associated with population ageing is to increase growth and employment. This is vital to keep age-related public spending relative to GDP on a sustainable path” - underlined Director General of BusinessEurope Markus J. Beyrer during his intervention at the World Demographic & Ageing Forum in St Gallen, Switzerland. Speaking in a panel with the CEO of economiesuisse Monika Rühl and the DG of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) Markus Kerber he added “there is an urgent need to continue and intensify reforms of pension systems. The European Union should benchmark such reforms to encourage more forceful progress in the coming years. The goal is to ensure a sustainable relationship between levels of contributions, benefits and life expectancy in the Member States. This is essential to provide adequate pensions for future generations and fairness between the generations”. Photos