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

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

The official launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place on May 9, 2021. EU citizens are invited to discuss Europe's future challenges and priorities and articulate their wishes for the future of the European Union until next year. It could not be more appropriate to launch the conference in the middle of a phase in which we are all concerned with how we can leave the coronavirus crisis behind us in the long term.

The BDA has presented a position paper on the future of Europe and will be intensively involved in the discussion over 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 recovery and resilience plans with which the EU member states use the financial resources of the "Next Generation" recovery instrument must become an engine for the economy. This is where jobs are created, this is where innovation is generated, this is where the key to our international competitiveness lies.

This also means that social policy in the Member States must take an employment-friendly approach. It is not possible to provide funding for economic reconstruction while at the same time imposing more and more burdens and bureaucracy on companies. Especially as a strong social Europe does not need new EU regulation: The social partners themselves know best what helps employees and companies. And they already share the core objectives of the action plan for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights - a high level of employment, participation in education and skills, reducing poverty - even without European policy requirements.

A socially strong Europe can only be achieved through an economically strong Europe. Against this backdrop, the "Economic Agenda 2030" should focus on making life easier for companies 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 family and work, scope for shaping 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".

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