Strengthening Competitiveness and Creating more Jobs in Europe


A call from BDI and MEDEF to the European Council - 20-21 March 2014

Our Priorities for the Future

Europe is still the largest economic player in the world: it accounts for 7% of the world’s population and produces 25% of world GDP. However, its status as main economic power is at stake due to growing concerns about and actual handicaps to its competitiveness. Economic outlooks foresee that 90% of economic growth will be generated outside Europe by 2015 and growth in Europe may be further hampered by the ageing of its population. Moreover many European countries suffer from excessive public spending, with ratios of public spending to GDP above 50% in many instances, thereby putting a heavy burden on businesses and entrepreneurs.

We believe that Europe’s competitiveness depends on a well-functioning internal and labour market and its capability to adapt to global economic changes. As industry and technology are the hub for value creation chains, we remind our governments that their efficiency is crucial to ensure prosperity and enable Europe to safeguard its living standards and social market economy model. The competitiveness of industry and its related services is the necessary prerequisite to ensure durable growth and full employment in Europe.

In this regard, the current situation is alarming: the EU’s share of world manufacturing value-added dropped from 25.7% to 20.8% from 2000 to 2012. At the same time, taxes and shortcomings in EU and national energy policies have caused a 21% increase on energy bills in 4 years, further undermining European competitiveness in comparison with competing economic zones while threatening sustainable development objectives such as CO2 emissions and long-term security of supply. Also, the number of patents registered by European companies is dropping (in 2011, there were 240,000 patents registered in the USA, 172,000 in China and only 62,000 in Europe).

We insist that the next French-German Summit on February 19th address the competiveness issue as a priority for both countries as well as for Europe. Our countries have a special responsibility to shape Europe’s future.

Improving competitiveness in Europe requires the definition of an ambitious competitiveness strategy to be formulated by the European Council taking place on March 20th.

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