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06/05/2016

Energy and climate change take centre stage at EBS

Development Policy

Energy and climate change take centre stage at EBS

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The 6th European Business Summit, to take place on 21-22 February in Brussels, will focus on “greening the economy” and finding “new energy for business,” organisers have announced, one week after the Commission published ambitious climate and energy proposals.

“Climate change and energy are the hot topics today, at political level and in corporate boardrooms,” said Conference Director Wytze Russchen on Monday (28 January), adding that the EBS sought to “respond to the interests” of the European business community.

The annual event – often referred to as the EU equivalent of the Davos summit – is organised by EU employers’ association BusinessEurope and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), with the support of the Commission and the Slovenian Presidency of the EU.

It will gather high-level EU policymakers as well as key figures from the European business community around four plenary sessions and eleven workshops on themes ranging from energy liberalisation to Europe’s position in the global race towards a low-carbon economy.

The event comes at a time when energy and climate change have made their way to the top of the EU political agenda, with a new package of proposals on renewable energies and CO2 emissions reduction presented by the Commission last week (EurActiv 24/01/08).

BusinessEurope Secretary General Philippe de Buck said: “Now that the Commission has presented its proposals, we are going to engage in constructive dialogue […] to find good solutions for the competitiveness of European industry”. 

The EU business group had expressed concerns about the proposals, saying they were “not satisfactory” and that “high renewable targets” would have “strong direct and indirect impacts on energy-intensive industries” such as steel and chemicals.

Rudi Thomaes, CEO of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium, said the Commission’s package was “highly ambitious” and represented “a huge challenge for Belgian companies” as he considers the potential for renewable energies in Belgium to be “low”.

However, he endeavoured to strike a positive note as well, saying the Commission’s proposals “shouldn’t be seen solely as a threat but also as a window of new opportunities.”

EurActiv is associated with the event as a knowledge partner, together with INSEAD, a business school. The programme of the thematic workshops and plenary sessions can be consulted and discussed online on EurActiv’s blog platform, Blogactiv.eu. A dedicated section on greening the economy has been put together especially for the EBS.

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