Time for the EU to take the next step. As Sweden prepares to take on the presidency of the EU in January, the Director General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Jan-Olof Jacke, says that Sweden has an opportunity to take on a greater role in the Union. The need for greater competitiveness in the EU was discussed during two days of high-level meetings that brought together colleagues from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s sister organisations from all over Europe.
Last week, representatives from Europe’s business community gathered in Stockholm to discuss the future of the EU and the Swedish presidency of the bloc. European umbrella business organisation BusinessEurope hosted Presidents and Director Generals from 40 national member federations to discuss key issues facing business in Europe. The meetings was chaired by BusinessEurope chairman Fredrik Persson, who was chairman of Swedish Enterprise until earlier this year.
The nearly 170 participants from 40 countries, (including EU member states, EU candidate countries such as Serbia and Turkey, and the UK), participated in various activities – including roundtable discussions on themes such as energy, digitalisation, research and innovation, competitiveness, and the single market – and mapped out the direction of travel for Europe and business in the years ahead. Participants included EU Commissioner for the Single Market, Thierry Breton, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, and Swedish business leaders.
With the Swedish presidency of the EU just around the corner and multiple crises facing Europe, business and politics face a large number of challenges and tasks in the immediate future.
Jacke argues that there is an opportunity for Sweden to step up within the EU:
“In the run up to the Swedish EU presidency, Sweden has an opportunity to step up to the plate. Our focus must be that political reform at EU level should strengthen Europe’s competitiveness – not risk weakening it. To give business the space to drive the green transition, politics must ensure security of supply in the electricity system, introduce full technological neutrality in laws and regulations and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.”
Jacke also stresses the importance of the single market and the need to further develop its successful model.
“For 30 years, the European single market has underpinned the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. The single market has made Europe richer and stronger. Now it’s time for the next step,” explains Jacke.
To take advantage of all the innovation potential that exists in Europe, the Swedish business community wants to see an agenda aimed at deregulation and structural reform.
“Europe’s ability to innovate is vital to the green transition. A broad agenda of deregulation, structural reforms and a deepened single market will deliver increased growth and productivity, unleashing the power of business to drive change,” says Jacke.
The Presidents of BusinessEurope’s 40 member federations have mapped out a direction for Europe and business in the years ahead in the Stockholm Declaration, which you can find below.EU Presidency