by N. Peter Kramer
The association of European Chambers of Commerce & Industry, EUROCHAMBRES, has underlined the need to place the economic recovery at the core of the German Presidency of the EU Council in the second half year of 2020. The association also asks the Brexit negotiators on both sides of the Channel, let economic considerations no longer come second to political considerations and opportunism.
Despite gloomy 2020 economic forecasts and worrying feedback from the Chamber network, the association believes that there is scope for a swift recovery if the right policy decisions are taken and delivered quickly. Addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chambers’ President Christoph Leitl said: “Chancellor Merkel, 20 million companies employing 140 million people are relying on you, supporting you, but also reminding you of your responsibility for the rescue and recovery of the European economy. Good luck, Angela Merkel, we are by your side!"
The next six months will reveal whether the EU is able to respond to the crisis in a timely and effective manner. The EU recovery fund and long-term budget must start reaching European businesses and citizens as soon as possible if they are to help the economy absorb the legacy of months of dramatically restricted activity.
Market access is another important lever for the revival and will be vital to the twin digital and ecological transition. President Leitl said: “Chambers look to the Presidency to ensure that the functioning of the single market is restored and enhanced, and that more is done to help our smaller businesses capitalise on opportunities beyond their domestic market.”
European Chambers call for urgent progress in Brexit negotiations
As the deadline for an extension of the Brexit transition period has lapsed, EUROCHAMBRES called on both parties to focus on the economy and ensure swift and substantive progress towards an outcome that corresponds with the ambition business needs and which respects and delivers on commitments already agreed.
President Leitl, argued that the narrow timeframe must prove a catalyst for more constructive EU-UK discussions. “Now the countdown really begins. Confirmation that the transition period will end on 31 December should focus minds on both sides of the Channel. Economic considerations must no longer come second to political considerations and opportunism. A deal must be pursued that is in line with economic needs and that lives up to and respects the depth of EU-UK commercial relations”, said Leitl.
Businesses across Europe are reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and will be dealing with its legacy for years. This must prompt both the UK and the EU to limit additional economic damage and risks. “An economically disorderly Brexit during a global pandemic should be a non-starter. Although the scope for a deal is narrowing by the day, the negotiators must strive to reach one for the good of EU and the UK’s economic recovery” added President Leitl.