Slovenia provides a clear voice for a strengthened EU Single Market and open trade with the outside world. This is something we also hope will be evident when their priorities are implemented, says Fredrik Persson, President of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
It’s a fresh six months in the EU calendar, which means a new EU Presidency in the Council. Since 1 July, Slovenia has been leading the Council of Ministers and recently, the Slovenian Presidency presented its priorities. Their programme is guided by the motto ”Together. Resilient. Europe.”, and it has four main focuses: the EU’s recovery, resilience and strategic autonomy; reflections on the future of Europe; the European way of life, the rule of law and European values; and enhancing security and stability in the European neighbourhood.
– The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise welcomes the Slovenian Presidency and is looking forward to a strong and close cooperation. Slovenia provides a clear voice for a strengthened EU Single Market and open trade with the outside world. This is something we also hope will be evident when their priorities are implemented, says Fredrik Persson, President of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
In the area of trade, the Slovenian Presidency has placed a welcomed focus on market access and a proactive trade agenda, rather than on various trade defence instruments. The Presidency highlights several free trade agreements on which they plan to work further and show a strong multilateral focus.
– We welcome the emphasis on the importance of achieving results at the WTO Ministerial Conference at the end of the year, and the fact that the Presidency highlights trade agreements with Mexico and Mercosur as key priorities. However, we would have liked to see more focus on how the EU and the UK can increase their cooperation in the area of trade in the future, notes Charlotte Andersdotter, head of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s EU office.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise appreciates the Slovenian Presidency’s clear focus on the EU’s economic recovery and growth through effective implementation of the EU’s Next Generation EU recovery fund, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility instrument.
– It is important that the EU now focuses not only on recovery, but also on increased growth. The recovery fund must be used to provide a real stimulus to the economy and to strengthen both the EU’s Single Market and its global competitiveness. Therefore, we warmly welcome that the Slovenian Presidency is highlighting the importance of this within its priorities, Fredrik Persson points out.
The Confederation also welcomes that the green transition and the EU’s aim of becoming climate-neutral by 2050 - while safeguarding the EU’s competitiveness - feature prominently on the agenda of the Slovenian Presidency. In light of the comprehensive ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package presented by the European Commission on 14 July, the Presidency will have a key role in initiating negotiations and finding consensus between the EU Member States. In the Council, discussions are also ongoing on the proposed Batteries Regulation, and the Confederation is looking forward to the Slovenian Presidency’s work in the area of circular economy, and a continued emphasis on how policy can be designed to best promote technological progress and innovation.
– “Fit for 55” will be essential in the aim of creating a climate-neutral Europe. The overarching ambition for European climate policy must be to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce emissions while at the same time stimulating growth. In the transition towards a more sustainable and circular economy, it will be vital that businesses are given the room to participate in developing the solutions needed, emphasises Charlotte Andersdotter.
It is also positive that the Slovenian Presidency has identified the strengthening of the EU Single Market and the removal of barriers to free movement as strategically important. The Confederation appreciates the focus on implementing the updated EU industrial strategy, while stressing the importance of openness towards the rest of the world. Collaboration and trade should not lead to greater protectionism.
– We hope that the circumstances will allow Slovenia to focus less on crisis management and the ongoing pandemic and more on how to recover Europe’s economy and strengthen its competitiveness. We think Slovenia’s priorities are well considered, and we are happy to help turn these words into action, concludes Fredrik Persson.