Even though the current European Commission managed to remove a number of obstacles to the single market, there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to services and the digital single market. Further completion of the single market will remain high on the new Commission's agenda. The Green Deal and Artificial Intelligence will have a significant impact on the economy and this is where the Commission will definitely need feedback from industry. These were some of the main outcomes of the discussion with Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. The debate took place at the Employers' Group meeting on 25 September 2019.
Commissioner Bieńkowska started by listing initiatives taken by the European Commission in the last 5 years, especially those removing remaining obstacles to the single market (such as fighting unjustified geoblocking, enhancing cross-border parcel delivery and progressing on intellectual property). She also mentioned programmes that make practical and concrete differences for EU companies, such as programmes supporting innovation or scaling-up.
Ms Bieńkowska underlined that, in her view, the industrial strategy was not necessary, as it is a horizontal issue. She emphasised how important it was for her team to get stakeholders engaged in shaping the strategy. "We managed to break down the silos between industrial policy and the single market, between the digital and physical single market", Ms Bieńkowska underlined. She ensured that each initiative was prepared in close contact and cooperation with companies.
In her opinion, the digital single market, digitalisation and sustainability will be the most important topics for the next mandate of the Commission. Commissioner Bieńkowska thanked the Employers' Group for its work and for its vocal support for further integration of the single market. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group, thanked Commissioner Bieńkowska for her openness to business' proposals and for the inclusive approach towards employers.
In the discussion, members addressed a number of issues, including the need to further support innovation and Europe's competitiveness in the global arena. They also pointed out that in certain sectors taxation harmed the global competitiveness of European companies. The discussion continued with Timo Pesonen, Director-General of DG Growth.