by the EESC's Employers' Group

Investments in the EU, current challenges the EU is facing and possible priorities for the next term of the European Commission and European Parliament – these were the main topics of the debate between European Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen and the members of the Employers' Group, which took place at the group's meeting on 15 May 2019.

Jacek Krawczyk, president of the Employers' Group, welcomed Mr Katainen and thanked him for his courage and engagement in defending the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU. He also thanked him for their earlier meeting in the European Commission, when he had handed to Mr Katainen the declaration issued by the Employers' Group ahead of the European elections.

Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala, vice-president of the Group, pointed out that employers are very committed to the mindset of sustainable development – a policy area in which Mr Katainen has been very active. She added that the role of business and economic growth in achieving sustainable development has still not gained the recognition it deserves.

Summarising the term of office of the European Commission, now coming to an end, Mr Katainen underlined significant progress in integration in certain areas such as the capital markets union, the energy union and the digital single market. He admitted that the European Union is now facing a much greater external challenge from global competitors than used to be the case a few years ago. Moreover, certain countries would like to see the EU weakened and fragmented. "That is why we need to defend both the European economic interest and European values," Mr Katainen said.(lj)