Analytics, Business, EU – Baltic States, Modern EU

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 19.10.2019, 13:16

European business in 2018: news for the Baltics’ entrepreneurs

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 07.01.2019.Print version
2018 was full of initiatives vital for the European entrepreneurship community, including a new President for the BusinessEurope federation and important outcomes of the European Business Summit. Some of it is interesting for the Baltic States’ decision-makers.

Business Europe: new President. In May 2018, the Council of Presidents of BusinessEurope unanimously elected Pierre Gattaz, the President of the French business federation MEDEF and CEO of Radiall, to succeed Emma Marcegaglia as President of BusinessEurope from 5 July 2018. He is elected for a period of two years, renewable once.

Pierre Gattaz is a successful entrepreneur with experience in a national member federation and in internationally with such forums as global business B-7 and B-20. He promised to fulfill the expectations of the 39 member federations of BusinessEurope at a turning point in the global economic order. BusinessEurope will contribute to increasing employment and growth across Europe while combating protectionism.


European Business Summit (Brussels, May 2018). Although the multilateral trading system is under constant pressure, European business will remain committed to international rules and an ambitious trade agenda that promotes market diversification concluded the European Business Summit in Brussels. As to the new trade opportunities, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found itself at cross-roads where its members would have to take some difficult decisions on the way forward, though the present situation presented some opportunities to fix a number of important issues that have accumulated over time. WTO members are divided on how to take international economic cooperation forward.

However, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become both an example of economic opportunity and of a risk of undermining international rules and norms. Summit participants underlined that based on statistics European companies are very cautious and scared to be involved in BRI projects presently. In order to make this a truly open initiative for the EU business, China should embrace international rules on financing, as well as more transparency on how to get involved, and abide by key principles on public procurement to allow companies to compete on a level playing field.

The EU’s trade agenda shows furthermore that advancing bilateral agreements with key partners such as Japan, with market liberalisation, strong rules on procurement, intellectual property protection, and the removal of non-tariff measures, the EU will be able to work with like-minded partners to create stepping stones to eventually strengthen the multilateral trading system.

Benefits of the EU-Japan free trade agreement, as well as agreements with other global states, are supposed to be great for European business.  

Brussels Economic Forum brings together European and international policymakers, opinion leaders, academics, civil society and business leaders to debate hot economic topics and share new perspectives on Europe's economic challenges. In 2018 -during 9 days in Brussels in June –the EUBEF-18 focused on the future of the European Economy in an era of digital disruption. The debate included the following issues:

  • What is the future of work in a digital economy?
  • What financial system for a deeper EMU in a digital era?
  • The future of EMU: towards more resilience and convergence



Taxation policy. "There needs to be a greater focus on supporting growth and investment in the development of EU tax policy”. This was the K. Andersson’s key message as a chairperson of BusinessEurope’s Tax Policy Group, at the European Business Summit (May 2018, Brussels) in a panel session “EU Taxation Policy: which impact on EU's attractiveness and competitiveness?" On the specific issue of digital tax, Andersson noted that an agreement on the issue is needed at international level through the OECD first, before implementation at EU-level.


Company law. For decades European companies have been asking for clearer procedures to allow them to fully exercise their freedom of establishment in the EU. The recent company law package could be an opportunity to fill this gap.

This proposal should be seen as an enabler to entrepreneurs across the EU willing to take the step and expand their business abroad. Although safeguards will be necessary to respect acquired rights of shareholders, creditors or employees, the proposal should not be seen as a panacea to pursue objectives which would be better achieved either by better enforcement or by actions in areas of EU law (e.g. tax, labour, etc.).

These messages have been voiced by Joëlle Simon, Vice-Chair of the BusinessEurope Legal Affairs Committee at a Socialists & Democrats Group hearing in the European Parliament on the EU Company Law Package in May 2018.  ​


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