The vitality of the European single market is essential to the development of our technology industry. What does Agoria expect from the next European Commission? Laurent Hellebaut, EU Affairs Coordinator at Agoria answers.
Agoria's memorandum is a series of very concrete recommendations on essential themes for technology companies and other stakeholders. In light of the elections on 26 May 2019, we asked Laurent Hellebaut, EU Affairs Coordinator at Agoria, three questions.
- In your opinion, what is the first measure that the next European Commission should take, in light of your memorandum?
Above all, we would like the next European Commission to show leadership and ensure cohesion within the EU. A bit like the work carried out by Michel Barnier and his team during the Brexit negotiations.
Every day we talk about a Europe in crisis, subject to high tensions both internally (divisions between Member States, violations of the rule of law, rising nationalism, etc.) and externally (border (in)security, challenges to world trade rules, etc.). This is true! But we also see that the parliamentary term that's coming to an end enabled progress on key issues like the 'Digital Single Market' and the 'Clean Energy' package. And that the EU has managed to strengthen its internal market and benefit from its trading power.
For Agoria, the coming years represent a huge opportunity for Europe, provided that the European institutions show leadership in matters of technological innovation, digital transformation, the decarbonisation of the economy, supporting the circular economy, etc.
And that they ensure the course set is followed by all, in particular the Member States: cohesion within the EU is fundamental in order to achieve the set objectives!
- In what way are Agoria's recommendations also essential for society as a whole?
The internal market is the natural market for our companies. Two thirds of the Belgian technology industry's exports go to another EU Member State. The vitality of the single market is essential to the development of our industry, which is itself an important element of our economy.
Next, the technology required to achieve ambitious objectives, like the climate issue for example, already exist. It's the European framework and compliance with the objectives set that make it possible to disseminate this technology more quickly. And it's the European framework that must also support the innovation that will make it possible to provide new solutions.
- Making recommendations is good. Taking action is better. What will Agoria do to provide concrete support in order for its recommendations to be carried out?
Agoria is a member of a large network of European committees and federations. We represent our members there, including our SMEs, on a daily basis. And this relationship works both ways. On all the questions mentioned above, Agoria commits, proposes, and takes a position within our European institutions. And we will continue to do so.
Read Agoria's full memorandum here: www.agoria.be/techmatters