EU Summit Wraps Up with Demands for Beefed-Up Competitiveness

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EU Summit concludes with calls for strengthened competitiveness

The European Council's special two-day summit wrapped up here on Thursday, vowing to enhance the European Union's (EU) competitiveness amid the drastic global shifts, and touched upon the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East, reported Xinhua.

European Council President Charles Michel emphasized the bloc's over-reliance on external economic and security bases, which he argued undermines the EU's competitiveness and global influence.

Affected by factors such as intensified geopolitical tensions, continued monetary tightening, and weak global demand, the European economy continues to be sluggish in 2024, particularly evident in manufacturing and energy-intensive industries.

Preliminary statistical data released by Eurostat at the end of January showed that the economies of the Eurozone and the EU experienced zero growth in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous quarter. The European Trade Union Confederation reported last month that nearly 1 million manufacturing jobs had been lost in the EU over the past four years.

The summit highlighted nine key areas to drive competitiveness, such as deepening the single market, developing and implementing effective industrial policies, and increasing investments through the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and the European Investment Bank.

EU leaders deliberated on a proposal by former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who cautioned "no time to waste" and a narrowing window to address the widening economic gap with the United States. Letta's proposal, "Much More Than a Market," points out that geopolitical tensions and rising protectionism threaten the EU's economic security and undermine its development in technological fields such as artificial intelligence and clean technology.

The report outlined the critical need for funding to support the EU's goals in green and digital transitions, EU enlargement and defense enhancements.

Letta pointed to the EU's 33 trillion euros (35 trillion U.S. dollars) in private savings as an underutilized resource, and highlighted that approximately 300 billion euros of EU family savings are redirected abroad each year, predominantly flowing into the American economy and managed by U.S. asset managers.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that the EU could raise an additional round of about 470 billion euros a year in funding from the capital markets if the EU completed the CMU.

Michel also supported leveraging the CMU to channel these funds into European companies, likening the initiative to the United States' Inflation Reduction Act, which allocated nearly 400 billion U.S. dollars to subsidize domestic production.

Despite the endorsement of the CMU as it was written in the European Council conclusions document, divisions among EU leaders remain evident. While France and Germany backed the initiative, the majority of the EU's 27 member states expressed reservations about losing national control and expanding EU regulatory powers.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas voiced concerns about losing competitive advantages such as their tax system. Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris emphasized the need for careful implementation of the capital markets union without excessive centralization, particularly opposing the harmonization of corporate taxes.

The summit communique also reiterated EU's support for Ukraine, but analysts believe that the limitations on the bloc's own defense industrial base and production capacity make it difficult to fulfill more of its commitments to Ukraine.

On the Middle East situation, EU leaders urged all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and avoid any actions that could escalate tensions in the region. They agreed to implement more restrictive measures against Iran, specifically targeting unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

11 Comments
  1. EmilyDavis says

    Enhancing the EU’s competitiveness is crucial in this rapidly changing global landscape. It’s concerning to see the stagnation in the European economy, especially in vital sectors like manufacturing. I support the proposed measures to boost competitiveness, including deepening the single market and increasing investments. Let’s seize the opportunity to strengthen the EU’s position on the global stage.

  2. EmilyBrown says

    As an avid follower of European economic developments, I believe that the EU’s focus on enhancing competitiveness is much needed in the current global climate. The emphasis on reducing reliance on external factors is crucial for maintaining autonomy and influence in the global arena. I support the proposed initiatives to deepen the single market and increase investments through the CMU and the European Investment Bank. It’s time for collaborative and decisive actions to address the challenges faced by the Eurozone and the EU as a whole.

  3. EmmaSmith23 says

    I believe it is crucial for the EU to take decisive actions to boost its competitiveness in the face of ongoing global challenges. It’s evident that relying too heavily on external factors can hinder our economic strength and global presence. The proposed strategies to deepen the single market and prioritize investments through initiatives like the Capital Markets Union are steps in the right direction.

  4. Emily Davies says

    As a European citizen, I believe that the EU Summit’s focus on enhancing competitiveness is crucial in the face of global challenges. It’s evident that urgent actions are needed to strengthen the EU’s position in the changing world scenario. I support the proposed strategies to drive competitiveness and boost the European economy.

  5. EmmaSmith says

    As an experienced journalist, I believe that the EU Summit’s focus on strengthening competitiveness is crucial in today’s rapidly changing global landscape. It’s evident that the EU must address its over-reliance on external factors to enhance its position. The proposed measures to drive competitiveness, such as deepening the single market and boosting investments, are steps in the right direction. I look forward to seeing concrete actions and results from these decisions.

  6. EmmaJohnson says

    As a European citizen, I strongly believe that beefing up competitiveness within the EU is crucial in today’s rapidly changing global landscape. The focus on deepening the single market and implementing effective industrial policies is a step in the right direction to tackle the economic challenges we face. It’s time for the EU to take proactive measures to strengthen its global influence and create more opportunities for growth and innovation.

  7. Emily Brown says

    It’s crucial for the EU to prioritize and take concrete actions to boost its competitiveness in the face of global challenges. The focus on enhancing the single market, industrial policies, and investments is commendable, but swift implementation and adaptability are key to success in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

  8. EmilyJohnson79 says

    As a European citizen, I am relieved to see the EU leaders focusing on enhancing competitiveness. It is crucial for our economy to address external vulnerabilities and boost global influence. The proposed strategies like deepening the single market and promoting investments are steps in the right direction to tackle the economic challenges we face. Let’s hope for positive outcomes from these initiatives.

  9. MeganSmith says

    How will the EU ensure the effectiveness of the proposed key areas to drive competitiveness, especially in light of the challenges faced by the European economy in 2024?

  10. EmilySmith says

    As a European citizen, I strongly believe that enhancing the European Union’s competitiveness is crucial in the face of global challenges. It is evident that we need to focus on deepening the single market, implementing effective industrial policies, and increasing investments. I agree with President Michel that we must reduce our reliance on external factors to strengthen our global influence. The statistics showing zero growth in the economy are concerning, and urgent action is needed to address the loss of manufacturing jobs. I support the initiatives highlighted at the summit and hope they will lead to tangible improvements in the EU’s competitiveness.

  11. Emily_Smith says

    As a business owner, I believe that enhancing competitiveness in the EU is crucial for our economy to thrive in the face of global challenges. It’s time for the EU to take bold steps in deepening the single market and investing in innovative industrial policies. Let’s seize this opportunity to strengthen our global influence and secure a prosperous future for all.

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