CEOs demand urgent action to drive European economic growth

Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, is leading calls from an alliance of some of Europe’s biggest companies for regulators and policy makers to pursue economic growth by prioritizing areas such as digitalization and sustainable development - known as the twin transition.

Under a rotating chairmanship, Ekholm hosted the latest meeting of the CEO Alliance for Europe – comprising the CEOs of Ericsson, E.ON, Iberdrola, Scania, Schneider Electric, Skanska, and Volkswagen – at Ericsson’s Stockholm headquarters on July 9.

Ekholm says the twin transition areas are prime examples of where Europe can focus on longer term growth by investing to lead the way in the journey from research to product to market, as well as leading the global green transformation.

“Only a prosperous Europe can maintain the current standards of living and welfare standards across the contintent, and yet the region has fallen behind other global areas in levels of economic growth,” Ekholm says.”Europe must start growing faster through smart investments and longer-term focus, all in line with the European Green Deal.”

With several national and pan-continent elections in Europe recently, Ekholm said it was a prime opportunity for political decision makers to act and prioritize the urgent need to boost European economic growth and industrial competitiveness.

Representatives of the Swedish Government and European Commission were among the participants at the latest CEO Alliance meeting.

The CEOs outlined core principles for European policy makers.

  1. Economic growth and prosperity must be at the forefront of the EU’s priorities.
  2. Twin transition, economic growth and competitiveness go hand in hand. There should be no backtracking on the ambition levels.
  3. The conclusions from the Letta report and expected conclusions from the upcoming Draghi report must be implemented, and legislative and administrative hurdles increasing administrative burden and hindering innovation, financial health and growth, and competitiveness of European businesses must be addressed and removed.
  4. Europe needs an investment-friendly environment encouraging long-term investments. European companies invest less of sales in R&D compared to leading countries and regions. There is a high risk that new ecosystems, jobs, expertise, and value will by captured elsewhere. Digitalization is critical to solving Europe’s structural problems and setting its industrial base and small and medium sized enterprises on a path towards green growth. Without digital transformation, the 2030 Green Deal targets are unlikely to be realized.
  5. Harmonization of sustainability related legislative requirements within EU is a must, and member states need to focus on the overall objective to create growth and wealth instead of implementing additional administrative burdens in their path towards net-zero.

The CEO Alliance is a first-of-its-kind Action Tank created to realize the groundwork needed for sustainable ecosystems to grow all over Europe.

The CEO Alliance for Europe’s Recovery, Reform and Resilience was formed in 2020 against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic European Green Deal.

The Alliance’s shared goal is to make the EU the world’s leading region for climate protection while unlocking investments, fueling innovation in new technologies and creating future-proof jobs.

Read the related CEO Alliance press release: CEOs underline the need for economic growth and the Green Deal in Europe

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