Amidst ongoing discussions on the Eurozone crisis and just a few days after the publication of the European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey.
The latest edition of EUROCHAMBRES’ Economic Survey (EES) – carried out among 53,000 businesses from 26 countries – reveals that business confidence is at the lowest level since 1993, with companies in almost 2 out of 3 countries registering pessimism about the year ahead.
The enduring nature of the economic downturn is confirmed by predictions for employment, investment and domestic sales, which remain at similar levels to 2012. It is clear that businesses do not envisage a swift recovery and the overall sentiment is that 2013 is set to be another tough year.
These results should prompt a strong reaction from policy makers at EU and national level.
The economy cannot be turned around quickly, but key short-term measures to restore financial market liquidity are achievable, such as effective loan guarantee schemes, wider access to public procurement and tackling the on-going problem of late payments. Beyond this, we must underpin European businesses’ export optimism through practical support for intra-EU and third country trade and economic policies that ensure the competiveness of our goods and services.
Another critical factor lies in the negotiations for the 2014-2020 EU Budget. Member states largely seem not to acknowledge that a workable EU Budget is a critical element in the delivery of the Europe 2020 Strategy for Growth and Jobs.
Heads of State must resist the temptation for political posturing over the EU Budget and instead focus on better spending. In the current economic climate, it’s imperative that every euro of public money is spent smartly and contributes to the pursuit of growth and jobs. This includes strong EU actions to stimulate innovation, enhance skills and improve conditions for SMEs.
A robust EU Budget is a vital ingredient in converting laudable objectives and ambitious targets into tangible economic and social improvements.
EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2013 is available here
The rate of use of internet banking services by residents of Estonia is more than one-third higher than the EU average and Estonians are also significantly more frequent readers of news on the web, it appears from a recent study on cyber security by Eurobarometer. Read more
Nordic telecommunications giant TeliaSonera today opened a center for IT development in Tallinn, a unit meant to design services and technical solutions for the company's mobile clients in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Read more