Coronavirus crisis: EESC says EU companies should rethink their business model

We need to change the way we do business in Europe and around the world, but the EU's long-term goals for sustainable economic growth should remain the pillars of our future in spite of the COVID-19 crisis.

In its opinion on Enhancing sustainable economic growth across the EU, drafted by Philip von Brockdorff and adopted at the July plenary session, the Committee underlines that the crisis is an opportunity to rethink and improve the way EU companies do business. It must not be an excuse to undermine the objectives set in the European Green Deal, the 2020 Sustainable Growth Strategy and the European Pillar for Social Rights.

During the plenary debate, Mr von Brockdorff said that "the economic problems brought about by the coronavirus crisis call for a change in the modus operandi of businesses within the EU and across the globe. Supply chains have proved vulnerable and need to be secured. EU operators need to rethink their supply-chain strategies, focusing on diversification and realignment of supply chains across multiple sectors. Some form of sectoral deglobalisation is also needed, at least for EU companies producing essential goods, which should consider moving their manufacturing plants back to Europe".

In order to make sustainable growth a reality in the next few years, we need to re-jig the European economy, keeping in mind the keystones of environmental sustainability, productivity gains, fairness, social progress and macroeconomic stability.

The European Union needs to play a more prominent role in world trade. This is key for EU companies and their business prospects. For global firms operating in a global marketplace, a level playing field is also essential in a wide range of areas, such as international labour standards, fair competition and compliance with climate change targets. (mp)