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CCCI: EES2024 findings are a call to action at the political level

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) suggests that the findings of the 31st consecutive edition of the annual Eurochambres Economic Survey represent a call to action at a political level.

According to its website, Eurochambres acts as the eyes, ears and voice of the business community at EU level, representing more than 20 million businesses through its members and a network of 1700 regional and local chambers across Europe.

As the body notes, its EES2024 report shows a slight improvement in the business climate from the historic low of 12 months earlier, according to responses from over 43,000 entrepreneurs.

However, the report also found that persistent challenges such as sourcing of energy and raw materials, labour costs, and shortages in skilled workers undermine expectations and contribute to ongoing uncertainty.

In the announcement responding to the report’s findings, CCCI stated notet "according to the comments gathered from national chambers in 27 countries, European businesses are marginally less pessimistic about the coming year in terms of domestic sales, exports, employment and investment compared to before 12 months."

"The results, however, show that high consumer prices and low private consumption are taking a heavy toll on domestic sales," while "increased interest rates are expected to weigh on private investment," it added.

CCCI’s announcement also pointed out that the report found that "several of these factors are a result of the pandemic, while others are a consequence of the ongoing war in Ukraine and geopolitical uncertainty elsewhere" and added that "policymakers at EU and national level have taken steps to mitigate the direct effects of these major crises on the economy, but the situation remains precarious, as EES2024 shows.”

Entrepreneurs identify, according to CCCI’s evaluation of the report, the supply of energy and raw materials as being the most pressing challenge for 2024.

"Rising labor costs and skilled labor shortages are also expected to remain significant barriers to business in the coming year," CCI added, stating, "policymakers need to find solutions to these challenges in close cooperation with their member chambers and companies in order to achieve a more business-friendly environment."

According to CCCI, the EES2024 findings represent a call to action at the political level.

"The EU needs to control the controllable elements that are proving detrimental to businesses' efforts to move from survival to success, and to drive Europe's recovery and growth," it said in its announcement, adding that "one such controllable element is the stock of existing regulatory requirements and the flow of new ones.”

Since the start of the 2019-2024 EU term, according to the CCCI, the European business community has been exposed to a large number of important new legislative proposals.

It also says that the pursuit of the President Ursula von der Leyen Commission's policy objectives has continued unabated despite strong economic headwinds and that "this inflexibility is costing businesses dearly."

In addition, CCCI stated that "a fully functioning single market is necessary to address many of the barriers to growth" and adds that "the Chambers are determined to support a renewed effort at EU and national level to reduce the remaining barriers to the free movement of goods, services, people and capital."

In relation to the key EES2024 policy messages, CCCI stated that these are, with rigor, tackling the stock and flow of regulatory requirements stifling the competitiveness of EU businesses, strengthening the security of supply of critical raw materials for the transition to a low-carbon economy and the development and attraction of talent and skills to drive the double transition, commitment to an ambitious program to tackle remaining barriers to the single market to enable economies of scale, development and investment and the alignment of European energy and industrial strategies with climate goals.

In its own press release on the report, meanwhile, Eurochambres noted that after the sharp decline in business confidence registered last year, the respondents its Economic Survey 2024 were preparing to face another tough year.

“According to the feedback gathered by national chambers in 27 countries, European businesses are marginally less pessimistic for the year ahead regarding domestic sales, exports, employment, and investments compared to 12 months ago. The results, however, signal that high consumer prices and low private consumption are taking a heavy toll on domestic sales. At the same time, elevated interest rates are expected to weigh on private investments,” Eurochambres said.

Speaking during the EES2024 launch event, the President of Eurochambres, Vladimír Dlouhý commented, “European businesses have been obliged to hit the brakes for far too long and this is to the detriment of our recovery and competitiveness. EU policymakers must help them change gear from survival to success, instead of limiting their growth through over regulating.”

The organisation also listed the Key EES2024 policy messages as the following:

  • Rigorously address the stockpile and flow of regulatory requirements that stifle EU business competitiveness
  • Enhance the security of the supply of critical raw materials for the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • Develop and attract talent and skills to drive the twin transition
  • Commit to an ambitious programme to tackle remaining barriers to the single market to enable economies of scale, growth and investment
  • Align European energy and industrial strategies with climate goals

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