Having SME policy as a horizontal priority is an indispensable way to address numerous, cross-cutting challenges that they are currently facing. Current trends cause bigger challenges for SMEs than for bigger companies. Therefore, it is high time for policy makers to act upon it. This was discussed at the conference "Placing European SMEs at a horizontal priority in post-2020 policy making process". The conference took place on 24 October 2019 in Chania, Greece and was organised by the Employers' Group, Chania's Traders Association and the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
The EU is ready for a digital revolution and for reaping its benefits – this was one of the conclusions of the conference on the Advantages of a Digital Society, which took place on 25 October 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. The participants discussed various aspects of e-society and the Digital Single Market. Cyber security, societal trust, the free flow of data, the further development of infrastructure and getting rid of barriers hindering the Digital Single Market were just a few of the issues raised.
On 6 May 2019 the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) organised in its headquarters at Place du Congrès in Brussels a day of debates which focused on analysing the reform process of the Economic and Monetary Union, the various positions of the Member States' governments and some social actors, as well as the possible way forward from a situation that was qualified as a "blockage of the main reforms". In the six round tables that structured the debate, a total of 26 people participated, including keynote speakers, speakers and moderators. All of them were academics or officials of the European institutions.
Representatives of German, French, Swedish and Polish employers' organisations expressed their strong concerns about the revision of the posting of workers directive during the conference entitled "Revision of posting directive – it is not only about posting and workers... Facts and myths". "The proposal is a form of hidden protectionism, undermines the four freedoms, and thereby hampers the single market," said Jacek P. Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group, in his opening statement. The conference took place on 16 March 2017 in Brussels and was organised by the Polish Confederation "Lewiatan".
The economy for the common good in the spotlight at the European Parliament
At an event organised in the European Parliament on 10 December 2015, EESC member Carlos Trias Pintó discusses with European policymakers and key stakeholders how to further advance towards a "European Ethical Market" based on the principles set out in the "Economy for the Common Good".
The importance of Social Dialogue, the role of employers' organisations, the economic situation in the Balkan countries, progress in the accession process and current political challenges: these were main topics of the discussions at the Balkan Employers' Round Table that took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 22 March 2017. The event brought together representatives of employers' organisations from former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia).
Participants in the discussion with the president of the CoR, Markku Markkula, agreed that the agendas of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee were often aligned and that both advisory bodies should step up their cooperation in order to benefit from these synergies.
The condition of the European economy, completing the Single Market, trade and Brexit – these are the top issues for European employers' organisations in the forthcoming months. On 29 March 2017, the Directors-General and Secretaries-General of BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and Copa-Cogega presented their priorities and debated with the members of the EESC Employers' Group.
A European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hearing has drawn up preventive measures and alternative approaches for future crises
A new VAT system for taxing trade between Member States must tap its full potential and limit any possible negative effects for the single market, says the European Economic and Social Committee in its recently adopted opinion on a proposal presented by the European Commission. Greater collaboration between national authorities and extensive communication by the Commission will be key to its successful implementation. Clarifications are needed on some proposed concepts and criteria and a common system for goods and services must follow as soon as possible.