Published on 26th February 2019
Services account for more than 70% of the EU’s GDP and they could not successfully operate without support from activities like employment, cleaning, security, food, textile, management or engineering services. In 2019 business services still face a number of challenges to remain competitive in the EU. On 21 February, the European Business Service Alliance (EBSA) presented in Brussels their Manifesto with the priority actions needed from the upcoming new European institutions.
“Of the five policy recommendations that are at the heart of the private employment industry’s vision for Europe, two feature prominently in the EBSA Manifesto: Better Regulation and Skills,” explains Michael Freytag, EU Public Affairs Manager at the World Employment Confederation-Europe and EBSA’s Vice-Chairman.
“Business service companies still face significant regulatory and administrative burdens. EBSA recommends that the new European Commission steps up the good work that it started, for instance with the REFIT Platform, and, in addition, that it sets a burden reduction target. Any policy or legislation should also be accompanied by a comprehensive impact assessment to ensure that they are based on solid evidence,” Freytag explains.
Another major flaw which further impedes the European Commission’s ability to adopt evidence-based policymaking in the field of services is the lack of correct statistics. Freytag points out to the new framework for integrated business statistics: “While it introduces new statistics on services, there is still a long way to go before we will have a full picture of the importance of business services to our economy. Correcting this imbalance in statistics is a key priority for EBSA.”
Also high on the agenda of WEC-Europe and EBSA is the need for well-qualified employees. With the rapid speed of digitalisation, employees with a mix of “traditional” and digital skills are increasingly in demand. “Vocational education and training is essential to ensure that business services companies constantly have access to employees with the right skillset. Experience shows, that newly educated persons are more likely to get a job directly in the Member States where vocational training is common than in the Member States where it is used more rarely. Support for Vocational Education and Training as well as digital skills should therefore be a priority for the new Commission,” Michael Freytag concludes.
Opening the Manifesto’s launch event, Robert Strauss, Head of Unit Services for Consumer at the European Commission’s Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs department (DG GROW), highlighted how the EU Single Market is indeed a main driver of economic growth and job creation. He also reminded participants of the Single Market Communication presented in November 2018. The Communication focuses on benefits for citizens, companies and the economy, as well as on the delivery challenges (implementing existing rules, removing barriers to the provision of services and using the full potential of the single market – e.g. digital services and data economy).