ERT Vision Paper: Europe’s corporate leaders call for renewed EU integration as focus for EU from here to 2030
Brussels, 26 October 2023: As many in the EU policy sphere look to prepare the ground for next year’s European Parliamentary elections and new European Commission, the European Round Table for Industry releases its Vision Paper today.
In keeping with previous ERT visions issued in 2014 and 2019, this latest publication addresses the key European issues and recommendations of the CEOs and Chairs of some of Europe’s most significant industrial and technology companies, operating worldwide. However, there is a markedly more alarming tone in this one.
The EU is in the early stages of a horizon moment of potential further enlargement. Aside from expanding the number of countries in the EU, such a move should change the dynamics of how the EU gets things done. The next European Commission, Parliament and Council should start digging into the answers to the tough questions about the implications of welcoming new Members from the East.
To expand successfully, the EU must – in parallel – already to renew the dynamic of EU integration. More Europe should go hand-in-hand with a better Europe.
The publication, entitled Securing Europe’s place in the new world order articulates consensus and recommendations that ERT has forged among its 60 strong membership of CEOs and Chairs.
The recommendations include:
Competitiveness: It’s time for an encompassing programme to remove Single Market barriers. The EU should embrace a holistic approach to competitiveness and foster pro-business regulation to enhance Europe’s appeal.
Innovation: Rethink regulation on emerging technologies. Re-focus on robust IP rights and international standardisation and realise the scale-up of investment-intensive innovation.
Merger & market assessments should be better aligned with market realities and more consistent with EU policies. Reinforce the European Commission’s role as guardian of the Single Market. Ensure faster legal proceedings and increase legal certainty.
Digital Transformation: Invest in digital infrastructure, support tech uptake & innovation and enhance cybersecurity.
Energy Transition & Climate Change: Accelerate decarbonisation without de-industrialisation, upgrade EU-wide energy infrastructure and stimulate the deployment of renewable energy sources and strive for an international green, level playing field through fair pricing of the carbon footprint of products.
Trade & Market Access: Strengthen alliances, restore a global level playing field and pursue economic security.
Skills: Strengthen our education system, make reskilling the norm and ensure an immigration policy that meet the EU’s skills needs.
First of a series of deep dives coming soon
Today’s release also sets the tone for a series of deep-dive reports that will follow between now and May next year. Topics addressed will include deepening the EU Single Market, increasing the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in Europe and strengthening Europe’s energy infrastructure, digital transformation and benchmarking the competitiveness of the EU against its peers at global level.
The next 18 months will set the tempo for Europe’s performance in the second half of this decade. Since 2019, President von der Leyen’s Commission has driven a series of ambitious programmes to empower the digital and green transitions, in parallel to managing some extraordinary crises. The biggest challenge for the next Commission and Parliament will be securing growth while ensuring that the EU-27 stays on track for its climate, digital and energy targets. With this in mind, ERT is today publishing its Vision Paper, to provide high-level corporate insights which can potentially inform the work programme for 2024 to 2029.
These are testing times. Against a backdrop of war, the Members of ERT are living with the implications of many contrasting legislative actions by the EU, while also contending with evolving geopolitics in their operations in the US, China and elsewhere. Transitions happen - to borrow Ernest Hemingway’s phrase - gradually, then suddenly. At some point, this period of change will be over. The EU has to seize this moment and focus on restoring growth and resilience. The fastest route to that is to renew the dynamic of European integration. We hope that our recommendations are heard by EU policymakers and national governments and inform their actions going forward.