• Securing Europe’s Place in a new world order

ERT gathers in Dublin, meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe, President of the Eurogroup

Download the full statement

DUBLIN, 22 May 2023: The European Round Table for Industry (ERT) met in Dublin yesterday and day, as part of its semi-annual meetings. This year’s spring meeting, hosted by Tony Smurfit, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Group, brought together leaders from around 50 of Europe’s most significant industrial and technology companies with operations worldwide.

The meeting was honoured by the company of the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe, President of the Eurogroup and Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform.

As significant employers, innovators and investors in European regions, the meeting was an opportunity for ERT Members* to discuss some of the key themes of the moment and put their questions to the Taoiseach and the President of the Eurogroup.

As a cross-sectoral high level forum, ERT’s focus is on the long-term industrial outlook for Europe, against the backdrop of a shifting global landscape. This includes the following priority areas:

1. Europe’s competitiveness in a changing global order: Europe is a longstanding defender of the multilateral rules-based system and open trade. While European industrial companies continue to invest heavily to deliver the green transition, their operations have been severely hampered by unpredictable geopolitics of the war in Ukraine and the volatile energy costs in the EU in the past year.

With its Inflation Reduction Act, the US is attracting the latest waves of major investments in new operations and R&D. Europe must find its own way to secure the next generation of industrial development in Europe, including SME-dominated industrial ecosystems across the EU-27.

2. EU Single Market: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dawn of the Single Market. As a foundation of EU unity and prosperity, it needs renewed political attention to ensure that remaining barriers can be addressed, spurring a renewed wave of prosperity. At the moment, a true European Energy Union looks increasingly urgent and key to achieving EU decarbonisation targets. Furthermore, the European Capital Markets Union would deliver much-needed new avenues of funding for European innovation, in particular for tech start-ups & scale-ups.

3. Innovation: With innovation now a key determinant of competitiveness, a rethink is needed of the regulation and funding of this sector – refocusing on robust IP rights and standardisation and realising scale-up of investment-intensive innovation.

4. Addressing the Skills gap: ERT is vocal supporter of the effort to build a culture of lifelong learning and reskilling in Europe – as evidenced by its reskilling programme, R4E°. With the twin transitions driving an urgent need for new skillsets, EU support for reskilling needs more volume and more resources. More investment is needed in education, training, and reskilling along with better co-operation between the public and private sector.

In addition, the results of The Conference Board’s independent semi-annual economic confidence survey of the CEOs & Chairs in ERT will also be released tomorrow.

Note to Editors:

* The names of the ERT Members in attendance at the meeting in Dublin are available in additional pages in the PDF available for download here.

A full list of the membership of ERT is accessible https://ert.eu/members/

** More information on ERT’s position on the Single Market is available in the publication Renewing the dynamic of European integration: Single Market Stories by Business Leaders is available here: https://ert.eu/single-market

° ERT’s Reskilling initiative, R4E. is already being championed by 7 companies led by Members of ERT and is active in 3 EU countries (Portugal, Spain & Sweden) with more expected soon. For more information, visit https://r4e.eu