The proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights published by the European Commission elicited a critical first reaction from the secretaries general of UEAPME, EUROCHAMBRES and CEEP. Véronique Willems, Arnaldo Abruzzini and Valeria Ronzitti participated in the Employers' Group meeting to discuss their organisations' current priorities.
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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.
On 30 March 2017, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the European Commission's proposed directive on business insolvency, which is intended to harmonise preventive restructuring procedures across Europe. While fully supporting the Commission's shift from liquidation to early restructuring in dealing with business insolvency, the EESC proposes a set of measures to help prevent its social damages.
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".
Short-sighted national interests, a growing number of anti-European parties with quick answers but no solutions, pressure from outside the EU and - last but not least - many concerned, anxious people who are increasingly losing trust in their political leaders and in the European project - this is Europe today. Most worrying of all...
More attention to the needs of SMEs and family businesses, easier access to finance, fewer bureaucratic burdens, simplification of taxation systems and proper coordination to respond to current challenges – these were some of the priorities highlighted by the newly-elected president of UEAPME, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. In order to foster further cooperation and coordinate their common interests, the Employers' Group had the great pleasure of welcoming the UEAPME President, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, and UEAPME Secretary-General, Véronique Willems, to the first Group meeting of 2017 in order to discuss the state of play of SMEs in Europe and the goals and priorities that they were aiming for.
The EESC Plenary today highlighted the importance of the collaborative economy and the functional economy as new business models for a more sustainable Europe. But it also called on the Commission to ensure that the collaborative economy does not increase job insecurity and the opportunity for tax avoidance. Nudge thinking is one way to achieve this. The Committee debated a number of key issues affecting Europe's future economic development with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen.
On 9 November the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a conference on Co-operative banks and innovation in SME financing. The event was organised in cooperation with the International Confederation of Popular Banks, the European Association of Co-operative Banks, the UNICO Banking Group and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The European Commission also took part. The conference looked at the growing role of technology players in SME financing and discussed their interaction with more traditional cooperative banks ...
Ahead of the demonstration organised by IndustriAll for 9 November, which will bring to Brussels 10,000 steel workers from across Europe to protest against the continuous decline of their sector, the EESC's "steel" rapporteurs from both Employers' and Workers' groups have called for a level playing field for Europe's steel industry. Europe's steel industry has been hard hit by the financial and economic crisis and the austerity policies adopted as a result.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October.