“The original thought behind what has developed into today’s EU was to ensure peace through trade and economic integration. That thought has proven itself successful over the last six decades. By guaranteeing the free flow of goods, services, capital, and people throughout the internal market tied to open trade with the world, the EU has provided the prerequisites for what business is best at: creating jobs, innovation and growth. This provides the very basis for Europe’s global competitiveness – which brings our prosperity. Simply put, there would be no social dimension without economic growth and competitive businesses.
Mr. Hedström from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise strongly addressed the vital role the entrepreneurial sector has at high-level EU institutional meetings and with Europe's social partners at Friday's at celebration of the Treaty of Rome – for the EU's 60th anniversary.
Attendees at the Rome meeting included Donald Tusk, current President of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minster Stefan Löfven, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and President of the European Commission, and Business Europe President Emma Marcegaglia.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and BusinessEurope remain active in working to impact the EU’s agenda for the future. Sweden will host the EU informal summit that the EU Commission is planning for Gothenburg on 17 November. This will be themed ‘Fair jobs and Growth,’ but for the EU to remain competitive and united, the views of the entrepreneurial sector must always be included.
BusinessEurope emphasized in its recent declaration saluting the EU's 60th anniversary, that a sound economy with high growth and low unemployment provide the foundation for social welfare. BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia stated that the Gothenburg meeting must address creating more jobs and increasing growth, to which Mr. Löfven agreed:
“We must remember what the EU is all about. We have to keep our sights looking ahead, where the EU needs to have strong social partners on both sides. Our problem, however, is that certain people do not feel they are included. We need to strengthen competitive businesses, as society will then also benefit. We will include all stakeholders to contribute, the meeting in Gothenburg is not a ‘Swedish’ summit, but rather for the EU. The social partners’ declaration brings a strong message.” concluded the Prime Minister.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, accepted the BusinessEurope ‘Declaration from the Business Community on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary’ during the recent celebration in Rome, which included the message: “The EU builds freedom, democracy, and the Internal Market. We cannot resolve all the EU’s problems today, but we can map out a positive future. Brexit has given us an opportunity to react. A two-speed EU may not be permitted to cause division, we move forward while we leave the door open for more Member States to join in future. The EU must also expand its global role. The role of the business community is vital for growth, free trade, and also for social inclusion,” he said.
President Juncker stated he feels the social dimension has not been handled well within the EU, but that much has still been done. “Already in the Treaty of Rome, the principle of equality was pronounced – now we must ensure it in practice. We have now introduced the Pillar of Social Right, which makes me proud.”
Mr. Löfven is striving for the summit in Gothenburg to address the priority of a more social Europe with fair working conditions, well functioning labour markets and a strong social dialogue.
Eva Nordmark, President of Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees, said in Rome that she was looking forward to the meeting in Gothenburg emphasizing the it should focus on the social dialogue and social security in all Member States. This is necessary to enable making use of the many global opportunities. We need to invest in digitalisation, and we need EU initiatives that lead to growth throughout the Union.
The labour market parties are invited to the Gothenburg meeting and the business community is clear: “The road forward is with an EU that builds on its original idea -- that of openness, trade, and economic integration. An EU that concentrates on measures that provide a genuine added value for its members. An EU that shows it is competitive -- not protectionist -- that is the the way to sustainable prosperity in a globalized world, concluded Mr. Hedström.