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Author: BusinessEurope

Address Horizon 2020 low success rate, with many good proposals being rejected

Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, is a key research-funding instrument. The second wave of inputs to further simplify it was discussed on 25 September at a meeting between the European Commission and a wide range of stakeholders. BUSINESSEUROPE raised the issues of oversubscription and low success rate of applications (down to 12%), which are key problems affecting the appetite of companies to apply for co-funding of their projects by the EU. A possible solution would be to limit the broadness of the topics covered by calls, and to extend the use of the two-stage procedure. This could guarantee that in the second stage, applicants have a fair chance of success, and especially SMEs would not waste their resources. On the basis of first results, participants in the meeting presented a number of concrete concerns and proposals to improve the Horizon 2020 programme further, notably in terms of funding, model grant agreements, success rate or synergies with structural...

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Helping EU company law going digital

Europe needs to step up its efforts to bring the benefits of digital technology to company law to compete better in the global digital economy. The adoption of the single-member company proposal and swift implementation of the new EU framework of business registers are concrete starting points in achieving this. A World Bank study covering 189 economies shows that 144 of them have introduced online platforms for business incorporation. These digital tools allow for a faster and cheaper incorporation, especially for small start-ups. These messages were emphasised by BUSINESSEUROPE Senior Adviser Pedro Oliveira at the conference “Company law in the digital age” organised by the European Commission on 2...

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TTIP and opportunities in health care

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may increase the diversity and availability of health care services. The private sector is leader in bringing solutions, investing in research and development and innovating. Patients could benefit from all this, BUSINESSEUROPE said at the conference “Free trade agreements: What’s at stake for mutual health funds and health care?” organised at the European Parliament by the National Intermutualist College (Belgium) on 1 October. It is for governments at national and municipal level to decide how health care services are to be provided in their territory: completely publicly, or with participation of private companies. When private providers are allowed to operate, as in some cases already, TTIP will ensure that local and foreign service providers are treated equally in the EU and the...

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The European Commission should not reopen the posting of workers directive

Introducing a principle of “the same pay for the same job in the same place” would be an unacceptable and harmful interference from the EU level in national wage-setting mechanisms and in the role of social partners in many member states. Rather, the European Commission and member states should focus their efforts on effective implementation of the 2014 enforcement directive. The European Commission should not reopen the 1996 posting of workers directive as this would stop the ongoing work on implementing the enforcement directive and create a prolonged period of debate and uncertainty. These were the main messages sent by BUSINESSEUROPE Director General Markus J. Beyrer to EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen in advance of a Commission’s orientation debate on the labour mobility...

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Discussing corporate tax transparency

Enhanced tax transparency towards tax authorities can both improve tax compliance and ensure appropriate protection of taxpayers’ commercially sensitive information. This was the message highlighted by Hans de Boer, President of the Confederation of Netherlands Industries and Employers (VNO-NCW) representing BUSINESSEUROPE at a high-level roundtable on 1 October with European Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Hill. Following the launch of a Commission public consultation on further corporate tax transparency, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis had invited representatives from businesses, NGOs and civil society to share their views and experiences in relation to country-by-country reporting. Mr de Boer underlined that business fully shares the objective of fighting fraud and evasion, and emphasised the importance of preserving a level playing field vis-a-vis third-country companies, recalling the OECD-BEPS project conclusions on country-by-country...

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Trade and investment priorities in the Netherlands

The trade and investment agenda of the upcoming Dutch presidency of the European Council was discussed on 25 September, when BUSINESSEUROPE International Relations department visited The Hague to meet officials of the Dutch Foreign Office. During the meetings, BUSINESSEUROPE was briefed on the priorities of the Dutch presidency, and discussed the priorities of European business in a range of trade and investment topics. There were also exchanges of views with ministry officials on the issues that will likely come up on the European agenda during the first half of 2016. The department also met the Social and Economic Council and the international department of VNO-NCW, the Dutch member federation of...

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Setting out business views on corporate tax transparency

Businesses support the European Commission’s fight against tax fraud and evasion, Jeroen Lammers from BUSINESSEUROPE’s Tax Policy Group stressed at an event organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies on 24 September. Drawing on his experience as VNO’s Tax Policy Manager, he noted in particular that tax fraud can create competitive distortions at the expense of the vast majority of businesses who pay nearly 2 trillion euros of taxes in the EU annually. However, while the business community has engaged constructively with the OECD plans for increased country-by-country reporting of companies’ tax information, he also warned that additional and unilateral adoption of measures by the EU regarding tax disclosure could have negative consequences for EU growth and employment. In particular, long-term investment decisions involve assessing risk and reliability or stability of markets, returns and regulatory environments. Adding transparency requirements that exceed those in the OECD countries can be seen as evidence of a more risky investment...

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Innovation-friendly policies based on accurate scientific evidence under EU focus

This and other key messages on new scientific evidence mechanisms, the innovation principle or industrial participation in Horizon 2020 were discussed at the last meeting of BUSINESSEUROPE Research & Technological Innovation Working Group on 17 September, with a guest speaker from the cCbinet of Commissioner Moedas. Before a mutually enriching exchange with BUSINESSEUROPE members, representatives of companies and European sectoral associations, Keith Sequeira outlined the key activities and priorities of the Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner and made a plea to members for delivering their inputs on a number of topics, including the European Innovation Council, simplification of Horizon 2020 for the mid-term review or synergies of EU funding. BUSINESSEUROPE also welcomed Moedas’ confirmation that he should actively participate in the planned high-level innovation conference in January...

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