Completing the single European market is the main demand made yesterday by the businessmen and managers present at the event “Reforming the internal market for a more competitive Europe” held at the Foment del Treball headquarters. The conference – organized by La Vanguardia in collaboration with the European Academy of Leadership, Foment and EY – was attended by former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who was collecting information for a report on the single market and the reforms it must carry out. the EU to be more competitive. The report will be presented to the European Council in March.
“The framework of this meeting has been based on two words: urgency and integration,” said Letta in the final intervention. “If we do not complete the internal market urgently we will disappear,” she added, insisting on the idea defended on Monday in an interview with this newspaper. The day was presented by the president of the European Leadership Academy, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida.
The president of Banc Sabadell, Josep Oliu, highlighted the need to move towards banking union. “The fragmentation of the European banking market causes uncertainty and withdrawal,” he warned before insisting that “the lack of the European guarantee fund is an element that generates uncertainty.” Currently, citizens' deposits are guaranteed by a fund in each country, so the risk of each entity is linked to the place where it is located. Oliu complained that another consequence of the lack of union is that banks are valued well below the market.
The president of Foment, Josep Sánchez Llibre, also highlighted the banking union as one of the main objectives. He highlighted “the need for European regulations in matters such as finance, telecommunications, and also energy.” Sánchez Llibre demanded that “the energy transition be adapted to the industrial energy transition so as not to hinder competitiveness,” and pointed out the need to “assess the impact of the new regulations on the development of economic activity.” Some of the participants in the day reflected that now is the time to look forward and put aside the excessive regulation of recent years to solve the financial crisis, that of Covid or that of Ukraine.
In his speech, the former vice president of the European Commission Joaquín Almunia emphasized how far the “union of telecommunications markets” and the “European energy union” are. Almunia pointed out the need for Europe to gain “competitiveness” because it is the region of the world where economic growth is lowest. He suggested that one of the possible reasons is that the population is older. He considered that the European market will most likely grow in the coming years from the current 27 members to 36. “We have many things to do and we do not have 30 years,” which are the years that have passed since the last major phase of integration began in 1993.
Also participating in the day were, among others, Eduardo Mendiluce (Anticipa), Salvador Alemany and Josep Martínez Vila (Saba), Sofía Rodríguez (Banc Sabadell) and José Antonio Álvarez (Santander).