The European Commission will tomorrow adopt a package of social policy proposals regrouped under the so-called EU Pillar of Social Rights. Improving economic and social cohesion is key and BusinessEurope shares the aim of increasing employment and creating more quality jobs across Europe. However, the approach proposed by the Commission will not allow to reach this goal. Commenting on this, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia said: "People want more jobs and more prosperity, not ill-conceived legislation undermining job creation. The parental leave agreement as revised in 2010 imposes far reaching obligations on employers. Going beyond will undermine competitiveness and the issue of social security allowances or other financial compensation mechanisms is of national competence. Many Member States simply cannot afford to grant sickness pay levels to people taking parental leave. We are now in a paradoxical situation. This EU Commission, who wanted to revive the social dialogue, will actually gravely endanger the key tool allowing for autonomous negotiations between the social partners at EU level." Read more
Today, BusinessEurope launched a new competition package for companies. It is composed of the guide “Making sense of competition law compliance” and the blueprint “Alternative dispute resolution for antitrust damages”. The guide is designed for companies, especially SMEs, and aims to avoid competition breaches in the first place. It can be described as a “first-aid kit” providing elementary guidance to businesses on competition law compliance; its main objective is to encourage basic actions to improve compliance. The blueprint aims to provide, whenever possible, a way to address antitrust damages cases without going to court. The availability of a non-judicial route is particularly important for businesses as well as consumers.
The end of the first quarter is a good opportunity to take stock and look at how the EU economy is performing.
First, EU businesses remain confident despite challenges and factors of uncertainty, with business confidence even picking up slightly. Second, EU GDP is now 5% above 2008 levels. Higher confidence is also reflected in higher growth expectations. The Consensus Economics forecast for EU growth in 2017 was revised upwards from 1.5% in December to 1.7% in March. Third, we have also seen further improvements in the labour market, with the number of unemployed going down by over a quarter of a million since December 2016.
Despite these positive indicators, unemployment is still 1.2 percentage points above pre-crisis levels and growth is still supported by temporary factors, such as a favourable exchange rate and actions of the European Central Bank. The continuing recovery is a window of opportunity which facilitates further necessary reforms.
The 12th edition of the EU-China Business Summit will take place on 2 June in Brussels in parallel to the political EU-China summit. The summit will gather around 500 business leaders from China and Europe to discuss the most pressing issues in the economic relationship between China and Europe. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, as well as from CEOs of global companies. BusinessEurope co-organises the summit with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade who will bring a large delegation of Chinese business leaders to Brussels. Online registration is now open and participants are advised to register as early as possible to secure a seat. The programme for this year’s edition is under development and will be published soon on the summit’s website. For more information and registration, please visit www.eu-china-business-summit.eu
BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia in Rome for the B7 Summit 2017. Discussions are held at the highest political level with the participation of the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and are focused on improving Global Trade Governance and Innovation & Sustainability. She stated: “The B7 meets these days in Rome to pass a strong message: protectionism is not the solution to the challenges we face today at global level. On the contrary, we call on the G7 to adopt policies that foster innovation, improve competitiveness and promote inclusiveness. This is the only way to ensure that the benefits of trade and globalisation are felt equally by all countries and all parts of the society.”
Business leaders' joint declaration - Pictures
The UK has now notified officially its decision to leave the European Union and triggered article 50. BusinessEurope and its 40 member federations from 34 European countries have published a “Preliminary reaction to the triggering of Article 50”. BusinessEurope stands ready to play a constructive role in the search of solutions to establish a sound and balanced new model for EU-UK relations. It is in the interest of both the European Union and the United Kingdom to pursue mutually beneficial relations in the future, in a level playing field environment. The exit of the UK from the EU must be smooth. Negotiations should be led in a true spirit of partnership and mutual loyalty.
The EU heads of state or government met in Rome on 25 March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. BusinessEurope handed over its declaration, outlining the business vision on the future of the European Union, to the Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni and to the President of the European Council Tusk. BusinessEurope President Marcegaglia said: “As entrepreneurs, we stand ready to work for a better European Union that delivers for citizens and for companies. We need strong leadership in Europe and a clear vision of the way forward. Europe is one of the best places in the world to live and work. Only courageous common answers to the multiple challenges facing us will bring citizens’ confidence and economic success.” At a special EU social partners summit we met the President of the European Commission Juncker and shared a joint statement setting out the common views of employers and trade unions and their strong belief in the European project. See quotes and testimonies from European business leaders on the achievements of European integration. Photos - Video
Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, is in Japan for a number of meetings with high-level Japanese government officials including State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Kentaro Sonoura and Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Keiichi Katakami to discuss the EU-Japan FTA negotiations. Mr Beyrer is also speaking at a high-level conference on Japan, US and EU economic relations.
BusinessEurope welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe coming to Brussels as an occasion for European and Japanese leaders to discuss bilateral and global issues, including our free-trade negotiations. In times when some politicians start refusing to support open markets and global trade, the European Union and Japan have a unique opportunity to show that trade can deliver for all and remain an engine of economic growth. Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said: “We believe that concluding a trade agreement between the EU and Japan in 2017 is a very realistic possibility. Both sides have come far since the negotiations first began.” Read more
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