The future of Europe

NEWS Published

New ways to tackle protectionism and the challenges of the union the upcoming years was on the agenda when the Swedish Society for Business and Politics, SPN, arranged its annual winter mingle in Brussels on December 5. The SPN invited new and old colleagues to the Nordic House for traditional Swedish Christmas snacks and drinks but also for a joint policy discussion. Participants for the discussion included the Swedish MEPs; Gunnar Hökmark (EPP), Fredrick Federley (ALDE) and Jakop Dalunde (The Greens), and also Thérèse de Liedekerke, Deputy Director General at BUSINESSEUROPE and Jens Hedström from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

SPN Mingle December 5th, 2016

SPN Mingle December 5th, 2016

Given the turbulent times globally, the invited speakers started to point out their visions for the EU in the upcoming 5 years. Gunnar Hökmark started by stating:

- A lot of people going on about that EU is in a crisis. I disagree, EU itself is not in a crisis but EU faces many external crises at the moment. In order to tackle this EU needs to get back to its main purpose and do what we are supposed to do in order to fulfill our aims.

The other panelists agreed to this statement. Jens Hedström emphasized that the EU needs to get back to ‘its roots’ to maintain a safer and more competitive Europe. The core is agreements to form a strong Europe that holds us together. Free flow of information and the single internal market are key factors in order achieve a successful Europe. De Liedekerke stressed that the single market is a key factor and that Europeans no longer can take the benefits of the EU for granted. Peace, social protection, among other issues, are not to take for granted without a functioning EU. “We have prosperous countries, but we also have countries struggling. And we need to remember that when dealing with these issues and the realities of the single market”, de Liedekerke put forward.

- To me, peace and to cure this disease called nationalism, are the most important tasks for the EU, Jakop Dalunde stated. He also lifted an example from the US, where it has taken a long time to form a common identity within the country. “We might not realize how hard it is to socially unite 28 member states, but I believe that we can overcome this and work together in the EU”, he said.

Federley also pointed at the aspect about the member states’ role in the EU and the upcoming challenges to get member states working together. Federley expressed a frustration that a lot of the problems that the EU have with implementation of legislation is due to the lack of commitment of the member states and also the lack of agreements in the European Council. When new policy is failing, it is often because of the member states are blocking the proposal, not because of the European Parliament, Federley declared.

When the discussion continued to the topic of free trade, all of the participants agreed upon that politicians and the business sector needs a new way of talking about free trade and highlight the benefits of free trade more clearly. Anti-EU forces does not understand where all the jobs comes from. They usually think that countries can close their boarders and everything will be alright. Antagonists of free trade do not see that it is the ‘average Joe’ who will pay the price in the end, Federley said.

Dalunde continued talking about how the benefits of trade must be put into light.

- The benefits of trade must be acceptably shared in the society. Many people want protection from trade and globalization because they do not see how they could benefit from open and traded markets. For example, Sweden and the UK have been successful in distributing the trades befits in society.

Hedström added that this can be done when the society is working together, not just businesses, but also trade unions and politicians working together and standing up for free trade.  Hökmark closed the discussion by stating the following;

- I have an economic theory and that is that ‘export require import’ and that ‘import require export’. You have to buy goods and services from others in order to make them buy from you. Where you have trade, you have more prosperity and more jobs, and we see that those countries who trade the most have the highest employment. Politicians needs to speak up in order to defend the principals of free trade.

Hökmark, who also is the Chairman of SPN, thanked all the participants at the event and the evening continued with mingling and ‘lusselbullar’ in the Christmas atmosphere.

News

NEWS Published:

The EU Commission publishes its “Services Package”

On 11 January 2017, the EU Commission a package containing four initiatives aimed at improving the free movement of services in the single market. The Commission’s ambition is to create “A European services economy that works for Europeans”. The services package was first announced in the Commission’s Single Market Strategy “Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business” adopted on 28 October 2015. The response of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to the Single Market Strategy is available here
NEWS Published:

Free movement in the internal market

For companies engaged in cross-border trade within the EU, it is particularly important that the obstacles to free movement in the internal market are removed.Särskilt angeläget är ett effektivt samarbete mellan EU:s institutioner och medlemsstaterna för att förfärdiga den inre marknaden. It is especially important that there is an effective cooperation between the EU institutions and Member States to complete the internal market.Större politisk tyngd måste ges till den gemensamma inre marknaden som är nyckeln till framgång i EU-samarbetet och avgörande för EU:s ekonomiska tillväxt. Greater political weight must be given to the common internal market, which is key to the success of EU cooperation and crucial for EU economic growth.
NEWS Published:

Low growth expected for Swedish economy

ECONOMY The economy continues to show slow growth, in Sweden and around the world – as shown in the latest forecast from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. “Most concerning is the labour market. Bifurcation in the labour market is widening over time and will continue to do so without structural reforms,” says Bettina Kashefi, Chief Economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Cutting red tape essential for a functioning Single Digital Market

OPINION Digitalisation enables faster growth and jobs creation. But the EU could miss this opportunity if the EU Commission Digital Single Market Strategy turns into a long list of demands on businesses, writes Carolina Brånby, Legal and Policy Advisor for Digitalisation at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Uncertain environmental policy

OPINION The All Party Committee on Environmental Objectives has submitted its final report to the Swedish government. Though this is a broad agreement with clear formulations, it is unfortunately based on wishful thinking and hopes rather than facts and proper documentation, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who also participated as specialist on the committee.
NEWS Published:

Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson visits Brussels

Sweden should drive the development of a real Digital Single Market. The Swedish Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson came to Brussels, to meet with Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. He also attended a lunch seminar with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise along with Swedish businesses represented in Brussels.
NEWS Published:

Sustainable use of bioenergy

The European Commission recently presented a proposal containing sustainability criteria on bioenergy. Issues like the definition of sustainable bioenergy and its impact on the future use of biomass and forest management were discussed at a seminar in co-organised by Swedish Enterprise, the Federation of Swedish Farmers and the Swedish Forestry Industries Federation on December 7.
NEWS Published:

The future of Europe

New ways to tackle protectionism and the challenges of the union the upcoming years was on the agenda when the Swedish Society for Business and Politics, SPN, arranged its annual winter mingle in Brussels on December 5. The SPN invited new and old colleagues to the Nordic House for traditional Swedish Christmas snacks and drinks but also for a joint policy discussion.
NEWS Published:

Industry the solution to climate issues

The 2016 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech has come to a close. Given the proper prerequisites for innovation and development, the industry will have a critical role in meeting the climate challenges we face writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Climate and Energy Advisor at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, from the conference.
NEWS Published:

Labour migration discussed in the European Parliament

A hearing about the revised EU Blue Card Directive was held on November 7 at the European Parliament. The Directive aims at making the EU more attractive for highly qualified third-country nationals, that is, those from countries beyond the EU/EES area. Hearing participants included representatives from the OECD, the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. The hearing was valuable because critical assessments of the proposed Directive was discussed, and the participants’ conclusion was that the revised EU Blue Card Directive has a bright future if it allows parallel national systems for labour migration.
NEWS Published:

New rules for EU anti-dumping measures

OPINION The EU Commission has proposed a new method for calculating whether, and to what extent, imported goods have been dumped. While this issue is technical, it is highly important – for importers and third country exporters.
NEWS Published:

Swedish Enterprise visits the Slovak presidency of the EU

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s Brussels office visited the Slovak Presidency of the EU in Bratislava on October 3-5. Meetings with the State Secretary of the Economy, the EU department on the Ministry of Labor, the Slovak Employers’ federation and the Swedish Embassy responsible for bilateral relations with Slovakia was on the agenda for the visit. The purpose was to deepen the understanding of the presidency’s interest in the Confederation’s key issues; trade, labor market, digitalization, better regulation and internal market with Slovak stakeholders.
NEWS Published:

New rules for posted workers - Better protection of workers or the end of posting?

RULES Free movement of people and services is crucial for the internal market to function well. On March 8th, the European Commission presented its targeted revision of the posting of workers directive. The proposal is already one of the most controversial to be handled by the European legislators during 2016. 
NEWS Published:

TTIP – what’s really in it for businesses?

FREE TRADE The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is one of the biggest political decisions of this European political term. A free trade agreement between the world’s two largest economies has the potential to provide clear positive effects to the world economy. Beyond political discussions, businesses of all sizes will face both opportunities and challenges in their day-to-day activities and operations.
NEWS Published:

Growing power demand jeopardised by short-sighted policies.

ENERGY Swedish households and companies consume large amounts of electrical power, and nothing indicates this will decrease. On the contrary, with its fast population growth, and ambitious climate targets, Sweden will need to increase electrical power consumption to maintain its leading edge business sector. But, despite greater demand for electricity, policies currently in place are harmful for the country's power plants. This has to change, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy.
NEWS Published:

Looming energy crisis caused by government policy

DEBATE The high special tax on nuclear power, combined with the lowest electricity prices in 15 years, are knocking out carbon free nuclear power. This situation is serious. Shutting down significant portions of Swedish power generation would threaten both climate targets and long-term competitiveness.
NEWS Published:

Towards the circular economy – opportunities and barriers

CIRCULAR ECONOMY In December 2015 the European Commission launched the Circular Economy package. The ambitious package aims at stimulating Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. But will this vision be successful and what will it take to achieve the ambitions? In order to discuss this topic, the Swedish Society for Business and Politics, SPN, organised a seminar in Brussels, in the premises of the permanent representation of Sweden.
NEWS Published:

Facts and Research ignored

OPINION Redistribution of wealth is a cornerstone to welfare policies in the Social Democratic-Green Party government. But the minority coalition government, either purposely or unwittingly, ignores facts and research in shaping their policies. This debases the necessary conditions for effective, equal, and fair welfare distribution, writes Mikael Witterblad, Head of Welfare Policy, and Ann Öberg, Chief Economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Welfare policies not supported by facts

WELFARE Sweden's school choice reform, allowing parents greater freedom in choosing which schools their children attend, has not resulted in inequalities among schools. Nor has similar reforms to healthcare resulted in inequalities in the treatment of patients. These are conclusions from recent research, which were the focus of a conference hosted by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Refugee crisis not over

OPINION New this autumn was dominated by the extreme inflow of refugees. It’s high time to discuss the long-term effects of the refugee crisis, say Economists Ann Öberg and Jonas Frycklund.