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EU leaders to demand sweeping competitiveness drive at summit

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EU leaders to demand sweeping competitiveness drive at summit

File Photo: European Central Bank (ecb) Headquarters In Frankfurt

    European Union leaders will use a summit next week to call for decisive action to ensure the bloc’s long-term competitiveness and leadership on the global stage, according to draft conclusions seen by Reuters.

    Leaders of the EU’s 27 members will meet in Brussels on April 17-18 for a summit focused on the economic challenges the bloc faces from geopolitical tensions, rivals’ subsidies and the rapid shift to green and digital technologies.

    “Geopolitical tensions and more assertive policy measures taken by international partners and competitors, notably on subsidies, have exposed the Union’s vulnerabilities, while long term productivity and technological and demographic trends require urgent policy adjustments,” the draft text says.

    EU leaders will call for a deepening of the EU single market by June 2025, with concrete steps to remove barriers, enforce existing rules more effectively and give a special focus to smaller companies.

    The “new European competitiveness deal” will require efforts from EU institutions and member states to close shortfalls in growth, productivity and innovations compared to rivals. The conclusions do not name those rivals, but EU leaders will no doubt be thinking of China and the United States in their deliberations.

    As well as reducing single market barriers, notably for services, EU leaders will demand progress on creating an EU capital markets union as well as policies to decarbonise industry competitively and to secure affordable clean energy.

    They will also call for more investment in digital infrastructure and use of artificial intelligence, greater participation in the labor market, an open trade policy and an environment fostering research and commercial scale-up of innovation.

    (Reuters)

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