In The Press
Letter in the Daily Telegraph - Competitiveness
17 June 2011
SIR – The headlines say Europe is in a state of crisis and the euro close to collapse. There is, indeed, a crisis, but the more dire predictions are wide of the mark and ignore the important underlying story of the battle in European capitals over how to set the European Union on the path to economic recovery.
As business leaders writing in a personal capacity, we believe that the only way for the EU to remain competitive in the global economy is to follow an open and liberal agenda. Some push to retain national champions, shelter uncompetitive industries and retain tariffs on outside goods. This is protectionism, and would condemn Europe to a future of slow but certain economic decline.
We believe that the EU should pursue global competitiveness, achieving a truly single market by ensuring that EU services providers can trade freely in any member state. Services account for about 75 per cent of the EU’s economy and 70 per cent of its employment, but cross-border services only account for five per cent of the EU’s GDP, compared with 17 per cent for goods. We must similarly break down barriers for energy and digital businesses. A recent study has shown that completing the digital single market by 2020 would boost the EU’s GDP by more than four per cent.
We need to see labour market reform, openness to migration, investment in infrastructure, incentives for innovation and simpler access to venture capital.
Perhaps most importantly, we need investment in our youth through education, training and access to high-quality jobs.
Roland Rudd, Chairman, Business for New Europe
Sir Roger Carr, Chairman, Centrica
Chris Gibson-Smith, Chairman, London Stock Exchange
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, Vice Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell
Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, Chairman, Nomura International
Ian Powell, Chairman and Managing Partner, PWC
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT
Paul Skinner, Chairman, Infrastructure UK
Malcolm Sweeting, Managing Partner, Clifford Chance