President Rafaj Introduced EU Priorities for 2024-29

President Rafaj presented the priorities of Czech industry for European institutions in 2024-29 to high-level Czech officials in Brussels. Not after the European parliamentary elections in 2024, but right now it is the right time to strive for setting realistic European political goals for the next mandate.

As President Rafaj stated, the Confederation of Industry intends to get much more involved into the consultation process in Europe. At the same time, it plans to become the key positive vehicle of the idea of European integration, including participation in the ERM II. According to J. Rafaj, competitiveness in the EU will not be for free. As he put it, we have to provide a realistic answer to the question to what extent we should keep our markets liberal and open, and which risks this approach brings about.

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„Competitiveness is not just a global issue – EU vs. the rest of the world, but also a national one. There are serious disruptions in the Single Market that are damaging the level playing field, which is something we witness ourselves in the Czech Republic today due to the local high energy prices,“ said J. Rafaj.

As he added, we need to lift our companies higher within value chains. Although the Czech Republic keeps increasing its total investments into research and development, it is the exact opposite hen it come to the applied research. The Czech Republic lacks courage to make any mistakes in research, but without mistakes there is actually no way how you can do research. And without tangible technological improvements investors naturally tend to move their investments outside from the Czech Republic.

The position of our companies within the value chains also needs to be addressed while talking our investment incentives, said President Rafaj. Furthermore, we are currently lacking a comprehensive systemic approach to investment incentives – ad hoc approvals on the government level are administratively demanding and therefore causing problems to SMEs (esp.). However, and this is the crucial change we need, there is no point in evaluating investment projects according to the number of jobs they can create in the Czech Republic, as it was the case in the past, since our demographic development goes against this attitude. Instead, we should aim at setting up a system of investment incentives for projects with high added value. To increase competitiveness, the Czech Republic needs – besides finding a solution for its disadvantageous position regarding energy prices – to create the best possible climate to encourage innovation investments in companies.

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Vicepresident Radek Spicar informed the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic had decided to get involved in the multinational pre-EU-election initiative Europe Unlocked of the Swedish confederation, which aims at highlighting and explaining measures necessary to increase competitiveness and growth in Europe. However, as R. Spicar pointed out, without finding a swift solution of our unfair energy prices, sophisticated long term strategies for the Czech Republic will not be able to achieve much anymore.

This high-level Brussels event was kindly co-organized by the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU with a personal participation of H.E. Lucie Sestakova and it was supported by one of our member companies - Zentiva Group, a.s.


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