FOI delegation takes part in UNICE
- European entrepreneurs demonstrate for competitiveness
Under the leitmotiv "Release companies potential
Free Gulliver!" over 100 entrepreneurs and business leaders
from all over Europe, including a weighty delegation from Malta, came
together in Brussels on 14 November for the first EU Competitiveness
As a full member of the Union of Industrial and Employers Confederations
of Europe (UNICE) and following its conference entitled Europe
most competitive economy by 2010? How will Malta benefit
from this process? the Malta Federation of Industry (FOI) arranged
for a high-level business delegation from Malta to participate at this
important UNICE event.
The entrepreneurs and business leaders at the UNICE Competitiveness
Day discussed with high-level politicians, including Italian Prime Minister
Prof. Silvio Berlusconi, Commissioners Loyola de Palacio and Erkki Liikanen,
French Minister of Industry Nicole Fontaine and Irish Minister for European
Affairs Dick Roche, the competitiveness challenges Europe faces and
necessary actions to be taken to re-launch EU economy.
UNICE also presented a manifesto on competitiveness and its annual assessment
of the Lisbon strategy, which analyses the current situation and calls
for progress in specific areas.
The Maltese delegation, led by FOI Deputy President Adrian Bajada who
is also Operations Director of Multi Packaging Ltd., consisted of David
Mifsud, Managing Director of Methode Electronics Malta Ltd and FOI Council
Member; Helga Ellul, Managing Director of Playmobil Malta Ltd and FOI
Council Member; Anthony Depasquale, Chief Officer of Bank of Valletta
plc; Stephen Muscat, Group Chief Executive Officer of Maltacom plc;
Dr Leonard Mizzi, Malta Business Bureau (MBB) Director and FOI Permanent
Brussels Representative; and Janine Borg, FOI Researcher in Brussels.
Within two panel sessions, Presidents of UNICEs member federations
discussed challenges and responses to be taken to boost again European
competitiveness. UNICEs assessment clearly shows that Europes
economy is not catching up to its main competitors and risks missing
the train in the 21st century.
Antonio DAmato, President of Confindustria said: "Europe
lacks growth! Our main competitors as the USA and Japan have increasing
labour productivity rates whereas the EU is deteriorating." Dr
Michael Rogowski, President of German Industry Federation (BDI) continued:
"Structural rigidities dont let the space companies need
to prosper, but tie them up with competitive disadvantages. Industrial
production and research activity are leaving Europe. If no urgent decisions
are taken, Europe risks de-industrialisation!"
UNICE identifies, and the FOI concurs, six top action points where political
decision-makers have to deliver:
- Regulation: reduce existing legislation, make real impact assessment
on all envisaged business relevant legislation with Competitiveness
Council as a key decision body
- Public finance: continue social protection reform and reduce structural
- Innovation: stimulate R&D and promote industry cooperation with
- Employment: introduce more flexibility into national labour markets
- Trans-European Networks: complete Trans-European Networks, considering
more Public-Private Partnerships
- International economic relations: pursue the completion of the Doha
Development Agenda in the WTO
In his conclusions, UNICE President Dr Jürgen Strube made clear:
"We need a real commitment to competitiveness among all European
institutions. The Lisbon strategy, aiming at making Europe the most
competitive, knowledge based economy in the world by 2010, must be implemented.
The European Union needs an integrated competitiveness strategy, creating
space for entrepreneurial activity!"
For more information on this UNICE event, as well as the Lisbon Strategy
Document and the Manifesto, which were presented during the UNICE conference,
is to contact Cecilia Vella on tel: 21 234428, 21222074.