An "Economic Agenda 2030" for the future of Europe

BDA AGENDA 18/21 | Topic of the Week | 19 August 2021

As the federal election campaign enters the hot phase, it is worth focusing on a European issue - the conference on the future of Europe. A key demand of German employers: an "Economic Agenda 2030" must strengthen the EU's international competitiveness. Rebuilding after the Covid 19 pandemic is a good time to start.

The official launch of the Future of Europe Conference took place on 9 May 2021. EU citizens are invited into next year to discuss Europe's future challenges and priorities, and to articulate their aspirations for the future of the European Union. A launch of the conference in the midst of a period in which we are all concerned with how to move beyond the Corona crisis in a sustainable way could not be more appropriate.

The BDA has presented a position paper on the future of Europe and will be intensively involved in the discussion in the coming months. All ideas have one goal in common: with an "Economic Agenda 2030", Europe should set the course to remain a strong, competitive location in the future. The national reconstruction and resilience plans with which the EU member states use the financial resources of the "Next Generation" reconstruction instrument must become an engine for the economy. That is where jobs are created, that is where innovation is generated, that is where the key to our international competitiveness lies.

This also means that social policy in the Member States must adopt an employment-friendly approach. It does not go together to launch funding for economic reconstruction, but at the same time to impose more and more burdens and bureaucracy on businesses. Especially as a strong social Europe does not need new EU regulation: The social partners themselves know best what helps employees and businesses. And they share the core objectives of the Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights - a high level of employment, participation in education and skills, reduction of poverty - anyway, even without European policy requirements.

A socially strong Europe can only be achieved through an economically strong Europe. Against this background, the "Economic Agenda 2030" should focus on making life easier for businesses and citizens: Removing obstacles in the common internal market, promoting the free movement of workers, reducing bureaucracy and "one in, one out", flexible solutions for reconciling work and family life, room for manoeuvre and support for the social partners in the member states, investment in education and innovative capacity - and above all the much-quoted credo "big on big issues, small on small issues".