The economic potential of the digital economy, as one of the sectors that can boost Europe’s growth rate and create jobs, is undeniable. Digital competition is improving companies, making them more productive and competitive in a future global market. At the same time, information and communication technologies (ICT) can lower costs for both private companies and governments, increase access to new markets and facilitate business start-ups.
Switching from a linear (take-make-use-throw away) economy to an eco-design focused circular (make-use-reuse-remanufacturerepair) economy in which nothing is wasted is a critical challenge for Europe. It makes the economy more sustainable and reduces the environmental footprint through better resource management and reduced extraction and pollution; it also enables businesses to gain a competitive edge thanks to better management of raw materials, while making the economy less dependent on imported – potentially critical and rare – materials.
The publication elaborates on the Employers' Group priorities for 2016-18, which include a stronger culture of entrepreneurship, a full completion of the Internal Market, an efficient and forward-looking industrial policy, competitiveness for more employment and a strong role of Europe in the world. These are the principles that the Group will champion during the 2016-2018 period in order to promote a more dynamic and competitive future for a EU that generates growth, jobs and new investments.
This document is a summary of the two-day seminar organised on 26 and 27 October 2015 by the Employers' Group and its partners: Coldiretti, Confindustria, Confcommercion and AICE (Italian Association of Foreign Trade). The first day of discussion was devoted to the role of international trade in the Reindustrialisation of Europe. On the second day, the participants focused on food manufacturing, innovation and the circular economy.
The EESC strongly believe that ensuring food security is not just about producing more food. Supplying diverse, nutritious and good quality foods, supporting smallholder farmers, sustaining soil and water resources and reducing food waste are objectives that should also be pursued.
The EESC aims to promote civil society's role in food security, for example through its opinions, its cooperation with the FAO, participating as observer in the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) or through UN International Year events.
The new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on the UN world summit on 25 – 27 September, sets out an unprecedented broad action plan for people, planet and prosperity. An ambitious strategy and the installation of effective governance mechanisms will be key for a proper implementation of the SDGs in Europe.
To remain competitive in a globalised economy, the European Union needs a coherent and comprehensive EU Aviation Strategy. In the view of the EESC, the starting point for such a strategy should be the fact that the economies of numerous countries outside the EU have grown, which has promoted aviation as a facilitator of such growth. An EU-wide aviation strategy should therefore be based upon three pillars.
The business sector in Europe believes it is time to redefine EU priorities, by putting competitiveness first, implementing the better regulation agenda and offering better support for innovation. To improve the environment for investments in innovation and to address issues underpinning it, an appropriate framework must be put in place.
Europe is lagging behind other global players in terms of research and development (R&D). The business sector in Europe believes that if the EU is to become more competitive globally, more focus needs to be put on innovation. Greater clarity is needed in setting priorities. The most serious problem is that despite funds being allocated to basic research, the results of the research process do not make it to the market. Research and new technologies exist, but there are obstacles preventing them from being brought to customers.
The business sector in Europe believes a deep and comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) can further enhance this economic relationship and ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits of trade and investment ties more fully.
The document is a summary of the discussion on the Impact of the TTIP in Malta, which took place in Valletta, Malta on 9 March 2015. The meeting was organised together with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.