Post elections business wants the EU to take a different, more outward looking approach to policy-making. The private sector’s lobbyng agenda for the next term of the European Parliament and the European Commission until 2019 is the following:
1) The EU must effectively resolve the challenge of high energy prices. The cost of energy must be brought back in line with major competitors like the United States, where shale gas continues to drives lower. Supply security must become less of a concern and the EU energy market must become more interconnected to balance production and consumption of energy and encourage competition. EU leaders must set a climate target that makes sense for the continent as part of a global framework to address climate change, and without undermining European competitiveness.
2) The European Union must take account of the results of international climate negotiations to set the right level of its greenhouse gas emissions reduction ambitions. European industry must be at the forefront of a new digital revolution, which will profoundly transform its manufacturing and services sectors, and boost data driven innovation, which adds billions of Euro to GDP. To take advantage of the opportunities provided by cloud computing, data analytics and machine to machine technologies, the EU must have a regulatory framework that stimulates innovation and ICT investment throughout the economy.
3) The EU must significantly improve its competitiveness, and hold its own against developed and emerging economic blocs around the world. European products and services must become increasingly sought after on world markets, serving the needs of a growing and increasingly prosperous global population. The EU can remain the world’s largest exporter of manufactured products if industrial competitiveness improves and industry reaches 20% of GDP. This requires better industrial governance in all EU institutions to ensure that competitiveness is a priority and main objective in all policies. Jobs and investment lost to other world regions can be re-shored to Europe, if the right investment conditions are put in place. This requires reductions in both tax and regulatory burdens across the EU, as national governments improve the stability of their public finances and introduce growth enhancing structural reforms. Business and citizens will benefit from increasing inward investment in Europe and from European companies’ ability to win global market share.
4) The EU must complete the labour market reforms needed to encourage employment and productivity growth. Europeans need open, dynamic labour markets supported by much greater employment flexibility, employee mobility and cooperation between national administrations. Tax and benefit systems must be modernised to eradicate unemploymenty traps and better support citizens to find rewarding work. A renewed focus on education, training, work-based learning must ensure that citizens, especially young Europeans, have the skills needed to match companies’ needs in expanding fields like industry, data and technology. Responsive, affordable social potection systems are part of the solution, and pension systems must be financially viable to ensure fairness between generations and support a growing older population.
5) The Single Market must develop to enhance both internal and external trade. EU funding must be directed into competitiveness enhancing investment such as cross-border energy, transport and digital infrastructure, enabling cooperation between countries, supply chain integration and enhanced internal EU trade. Single market rules must be better enforced to create market opportunities for companies in all sectors. Using the platform of a strengthened single market, the EU must accelerate its external trade agenda in a spirit of reciprocity. This means concluding an ambitious trade partnership with the United States (TTIP), offering huge opportunity in terms of growth and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic. A trade deal giving greater access to the Japanese market should be concluded, and the EU needs to explore further trade possibilities with emerging economies in Asia, South America and other regions.
6) The EU must move beyond the financial crisis and make huge strides to protect itself against future financial and economic shocks. The banking union must be completed in a reinforced Economic and Monetary Union (possibly including Eurobonds, Implementation of Basel III to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector), and the financial sector must be in a robust health and less fragmented. Access to credit for companies must improve, as investment increases in line with regained confidence. Alternative sources of finance, such as venture capital, should be more widely available to decrease dependence on traditional bank lending. Governments across the EU must come to grips with their public finance challenges and divergences between national economies across the continent must decrease. With falling public debt, stability of the EU and market confidence will be further strengthened. Businesses and citizens will benefit from a stable economic environment and invest more confidently for the future.
7) The EU must become widely recognised as the best location in which to do business worldwide. SMEs and start-ups must thrive supported by a healthier investment environment and increased consumer demand. Inward investment to the EU in areas like innovation needs to be substantial and the regulatory burden on business across Europe has to be tangibly reduced. More EU countries must move up the World Bank rankings for ease of doing business so that the regional average outstrips its current position of 38 out of 183 countries tracked worldwide. The average cost of starting a business in the EU, currently almost double that of the US must be reduced. This requires a sharp focus on smart regulation to cut red tape and competiveness-enhancing public policies. Business and citizenns will benefit from a renewed entrepreneurial environment.
a) A monetary union with a full-fledged banking union (possibly Eurobonds, Implementation of Basel III, further structural reforms in the weaker EU member states).
b) A central position for Europe’s industry as the motor of growth and employment (better cordinated and streamlined industry policy; drafting new regulation should include an impact assessment for the EU’s industry eg. energy and climate issues).
c) Better regulation, less bureaucracy (needs better consistency and coherence of policies, regulation instead of directives will decrease the risk of ‘goldplating’ (incorrect transposition of a European directive) and increase the speed of the implementation process, clearer discussion on subsidiarity.
d) Single markets needs to be improved and should become a top priority (abolishment of natioanal protectionist measures, streamlining state support rules, completion of digital, energy and trabsport market).
e) More allowance for innovation (no specific preference for sectors, reform intellectual property, increasing the role of government as ‘launching customer’, establish goals instead of focusing on technological solutions).
f) Reform labour markets and invest in knowledge (low internal labour mobility, too tight migration policies, many vacancies in the digital sector unfulfilled)
Prenio: Andrija Višić