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Encouraging the competitiveness of European enterprises

The opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the European Commission's communications on how to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises, has now been published on the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The Committee broadly accepts the recommen...
The opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the European Commission's communications on how to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises, has now been published on the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The Committee broadly accepts the recommendations, with several minor recommendations, and is eager to actively engage in continued debate on this important issue.

It is in full agreement with the analysis on science and technology policy and with many of the actions proposed.

The conclusion of the Communication states: 'New forms of competition are emerging under the pressure of globalisation geared more towards the mastering of technologies, access to global markets, speed of action, innovation and intangible investment. Europe, reinforced by the euro, must harness the potential of these economic changes to unleash the strength of its entrepreneurs and build up fresh momentum for employment. It must promote its values in international fora, in particular the integration of markets, cultural identity and social protection.'

The Committee poses the following questions to continue the debate:

If all foreign domiciled enterprises operating in Europe are classified as 'European', what are the implications for industrial policy?

To what extent is the late development of capital markets in continental Europe still holding back the participation of European enterprises in global markets and global M&A activity?

How can the EU and Member States help current and former nationalised enterprises to participate in the rationalisation of European enterprises into competitive combinations with global scale? How can the impact of such restructuring on all stakeholders be mitigated?

Can Europe develop a form of venture capital compatible with the norms of social market economy?

What steps can be taken to develop the European market demand for high-tech products and services, so that there is demand-pull as well as technological push?

What steps should the EU take to promote its values, particularly the social market model, in international fora? What are the alternatives if it fails, or is only partly successful?

In total, are the actions outlined in Section III of the Communication really sufficient to facilitate the spread of a new enterprise culture, encourage risk-taking and promote the emergence of innovative companies able and willing to conquer world markets? Can the industrial framework and business culture be adapted while economic and social cohesion is preserved? At stake is the ability of Europe to create enterprises which can compete effectively in the 21st century.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities
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