Better EU governance and faster progress on the Lisbon targets are the key to a succesful enlargement. This was the main message of the two-day European Business Summit, which was attended by around 2000 business leaders, policy-makers and representatives of NGOs.
The second EBS focused on enlargement and sustainable development. In more than 30 conferences with over 150 high-level speakers (including several EU Commissioners), the participants discussed issues such as financial markets, food safety, climate change, e-business and e-government, sustainable energy supply and many others.
A remarkable development was the participation of European NGOs and trade unions. Whereas during the first edition, representatives of civil society stayed outside of the venue and protested against globalisation, this second edition took the initiative to invite major NGOs for a serious dialogue.
In the final press conference, CEO of theFederation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO/FEB), Tony Vandeputte, underlined the succes of the EBS 2002. He announced that a third edition of EBS will be held in 2004.
UNICE President, Baron Jacobs, stated that there is no alternative to enlargement, but urged that all candidates should be judged on their merit.
In a remarkable speech during the closing session, Chairman of theEuropean Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), Gerhard Cromme, pointed to the slow progress of the Lisbon Agenda. "Throughout the 1990s, the EU experienced just one year of economic growth above 3 per cent; the United States just one year below it", Mr. Cromme said. He blamed "paralysis in EU decision-making" and a "social environment which often seems no longer conducive to entrepreneurship or innovation".
The first European Business Summit (EBS) was organised in 2000 with the objective of creating a platform of dialogue between business and political leaders on EU policy. The EBS is a joint initiative of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) and the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE).