Putting Europe's economy back on track

9 November 2009

Jürgen R. Thumann, President of BUSINESSEUROPE said personal experience taught him that successful companies are the basis for a successful Europe. While the economic has situation improved, it will have long-term consequences, and national protectionism must not be allowed to damage market integration which helps economies grow and raises living standards. Europe needs to be up to the challenge of the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries), with innovative policies that reflect the new world economic order.

Climate change is a major challenge to the global economy, and European businesses have done much to reduce greenhouse gases over the last 15 years. While they intend to do more, EU plans are expensive for EU companies and if they are not implemented cautiously could put European industrial activity and jobs at risk. At the same time, the EU has spent fare less on ‘green’ measures relative to China and the US.

The new Parliament, Commission and an updated Lisbon Agenda will set a coherent growth strategy, but Europe must create synergies between innovation, skills and entrepreneurship and nurture bright talents so it can “turn knowledge into business” to benefit from this. Modern employment and social policies which adopt the principle of ‘flexicurity’, are needed as these will benefit both employers and employees.  

Europe must also encourage free trade for EU companies and work towards concluding the WTO Doha round, setting up bilateral free trade agreements and intensifying regulatory cooperation, particularly with the US.

Europe has a strong base for turning current challenges into opportunities and a good supporting framework for successful entrepreneurs and companies which are the key to creating prosperity, so he was confident that Europe would emerge from the recession “a winner”.