The Future of Europe – Employers' perspectives

by the EESC's Employers' Group

More consistent, more united and less bureaucratic – this is how employers see the future of Europe. The business community remains staunchly pro-European and wants to play an active role in shaping the future of the EU. The participants in the conference on The Future of Europe – Employers' perspectives, which took place on 21 June 2018 in Madrid, Spain, highlighted concrete examples of shortcomings in the EU and identified solutions for the future.

If we forget about European values, we will lose the EU, said Jose Vincente Gonzalez, Vice-President of the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) in his opening speech. The future of Europe must be seen in the global context. Geopolitical challenges – such as current US policy or migration flows – have to be addressed.

The European Union is lurching from crisis to crisis but especially today, when the global order we know is undergoing radical change, we must remain united and take ambitious and courageous action. Employers are a solution, not a problem – said Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group. We should not be afraid to further develop a united Europe, or to act in unity and solidarity. Nor should we be afraid to state loud and clear what business needs in order to operate.

The debate focused on two aspects of the future of the EU – the internal market and Economic and Monetary Union. Over-regulation remains a challenge for European companies. In many sectors, ongoing digitalisation requires major changes in the business model to remain competitive. The participants in the panel on Economic and Monetary Union agreed that the EMU reforms initiated after the crisis are a step in the right direction, but are too slow and not ambitious enough.

The Members of the Employers' Group also had the honour of meeting Ana Pastor, President of the Congreso de los Deputados – the Spanish parliament - and of presenting her with the conclusions of the conference. The event was jointly organised by the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) and the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee. (lj)