What should be the Spanish EU presidency´s priorities to boost the competitiveness of European companies?
BusinessEurope, the European business association, has published the "Madrid Declaration, a document with recommendations to the Spanish presidency of the EU to boost the competitiveness of European companies, deepen the single market integration, and implement a genuine European industrial policy that supports the green and digital transitions, avoiding regulatory burden when setting EU policies.
BusinessEurope identifies five main priorities to be addressed during the Spanish presidency of the EU in the second half of 2023:
- The need to give regulatory breathing space to European companies as a whole, in order to gain agility and competitiveness vis-à-vis third markets, and to reduce the cost of the current regulatory tsunami (according to the document more than 5,000 pages of new regulation in the last 5 years in the EU), which is particularly difficult to deal with for SMEs and the self-employed, who make up the bulk of the business fabric.
- To undertake a comprehensive programme to deepen the integration of the single market, removing regulatory barriers to cross-border business operations and services, that are hampering the green and digital transition.
- To secure energy supply at competitive prices. The report points out that from pre-covid levels, energy prices for European companies would have risen twice as much as for example for companies in the US.
- To address the current shortage of skilled workers, which is essential to be able to carry out and be competitive in the future digital and green economy, by encouraging training and reskilling plans among companies, educational centres and public institutions, to increase R&D funding to bring it to levels similar to those of the US or China, eliminating regulatory burdens that undermine innovation and productivity.
- To open up more market opportunities internationally for European companies with a view to of trade openness, by completing pending free trade agreements, including those with Mercosur, Mexico and Chile.