Further to the declaration adopted by its Council of Presidents on 3 June 2022, BusinessEurope developed the following detailed priorities for the Czech Presidency:
- Economic policy: We need to find a proper balance between controlling inflation and the need to support the recovery while avoiding recessive effects. The suspension of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact in 2023 as a consequence of increased short-term government spending requirements related to the Ukraine war must not delay the long-term strengthening of public finances. It remains essential to make the best use of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience facility to drive productive investment and reform. In addition, an ambitious industrial policy is the best way to strengthen innovation and global competitiveness of European business.
- Energy prices and repowering the EU: To tackle skyrocketing energy prices, the Czech Presidency must ensure appropriate financial compensation for businesses, create the right investment conditions for more renewable and low-carbon energy and fuels besides intensifying the diversification of supply routes and taking a realistic approach to phasing out the dependency on Russian fossil energy sources.
- Green transition: In the negotiations on the Fit-for-55 package, the Czech Presidency must ensure that the green transition is economically and socially workable and successfully move the EU towards a more sustainable economy, while reinforcing our European competitiveness and global technology innovation leadership.
- Single Market and digitalisation:To strengthen our Single Market and accelerate its digitalisation, the Czech Presidency must pursue protection of the Single Market freedoms not only in negotiations on the upcoming Single Market Emergency Instrument that will address crisis situations, but in all the proposals setting new requirements for products and services in Europe, as well as in the initiatives on data economy, AI and cybersecurity.
- Employment and social policy: Given the tight labour markets, with record levels of vacancies and skill shortages, the Czech Presidency must focus on labour force and skills shortages. A balanced approach is needed on key files, including platform work, and pay transparency. The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality have to be respected, as well as national practices and social partners autonomy.
- International trade: In the current tense geopolitical context, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Presidency must aim at strengthening the resilience of the EU economy, by building coalitions with like-minded partners, diversifying sources of supply and accelerating ratification of negotiated bilateral free trade agreements.
- Workable requirements for companies: All ongoing initiatives must fit together, be SME-friendly, not overlap and not reduce the resources available to companies to deal with the current crisis situation. Moreover, EU rules on due diligence must be effective, workable, and proportionate while providing for a true a level playing field.
- Conference on the Future of Europe: The future of Europe and of our cherished European Way of Life depends on the ability to maintain our economic strength and competitiveness. Many proposals made during the conference would make it more difficult for our companies to contribute to growth and the creation of jobs. A competitiveness check on all pending and/or future legislative proposals, as suggested in the recommendations of the conference, is urgently needed to make sure that the proposals are growth and employment friendly.
There is no time and space for legal uncertainty, standard approaches and business-as-usual policymaking. All mid and long-term EU policy measures will need to factor in the new reality and the principles of better regulation must be strictly adhered to. If the European legislators hinder innovation and deployment of new technologies, if they over-burden European companies in their home-market, if they fail to simplify and fast-track procedures to authorise investment projects in the EU, they hinder the digital and green transitions and undermine job creation, as well as re-industrialisation efforts to increase our open strategic autonomy.