01/07 Start of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU
01/07 Visit to Ucrania
03/07 Visit of the College of Commissioners (Madrid)
04/07 Opening ceremony (Brussels)
05/07 CEOE-Meeting of CEOE’s EU committee (Brussels)
10-14/07 EP Plenary session (Strasbourg)
10/07 GAC (Brussels)
10/07 BusinessEurope-Online seminar "Addressing digital protectionism-what rules do we need?”
10-11/07 Informal ENVI (Valladolid)
11-12/07 Informal TTE-Energy (Valladolid)
12-13/07 EESC Plenary (Brussels)
13/07 Eurogroup meeting (Brussels)
13-14/07 Informal EPSCO-Social (Madrid)
14/07 ECOFIN meeting (Brussels)
17-18/07 EU-CELAC Summit
17-18/07 Informal AGRIFISH-Fisheries (Vigo)
20/07 AFET meeting (Brussels)
20-21/07 Informal JHA (Logroño)
24/07 Informal COMPET-Internal Market and Industry (Bilbao)
25/07 AGRIFISH meeting (Brussels)
25/07 ECOFIN Budget (poss.) (Brussels)
27-28/07 Informal EPSCO-Health (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
27-28/07 Informal COMPET-Research (Santander)
29-31/08 Informal CAE-Defense (Toledo)
European Council meeting. © European Union


From a business viewpoint, the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU will entail leading the debates on what specific solutions are proposed to deal with the crisis of competitiveness that Europe’s economy is currently undergoing. Unity in the response of the 27 Member States to global challenges through firm support for the competitiveness of Europe’s economy will be key in the coming months and years. Such solutions will not be found only in the initial, large-scale debates but must rather be worked out in open proceedings that must be concluded in the months to come. The content of those proceedings will be decisive in enabling the EU to reestablish its industry and ensure growth.

We at the CEOE believe that in order to move towards a stronger, more competitive European Union in both internal and geopolitical terms, the Spanish presidency of the Council needs to contribute from its position of leadership to:

A stronger EU in geopolitical and economic terms must be based on collaboration with the private sector and with social partners. Only then, taking into account the challenges faced by businesses as creators of jobs and growth, will it be possible to set up a regulatory framework and a long-term strategy capable of consolidating the strengths of the European project and tackling the weaknesses that have come to light in the pandemic and in the current context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Also, bearing in mind that the current Presidency Trio made up of Spain (second half of 2023), Belgium (first half of 2023), and Hungary (second half of 2024) will be the last before the current EU legislative cycle comes toan end, Spanish presidency must be seen as an occasion for consolidating Spain’s voice in the debates in Europe on the major goals and strategies that are to shape the next European Commission. This is an ideal time to contribute proactively to efforts to promote country-level priorities on a consensus basis with social partners, considering that to make Spain and Europe stronger, a more competitive fabric of business is needed. The Spanish presidency must focus on improving the competitive environment in the EU as a basis for economic and social progress.

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European businesses need urgent, specific measures to address the crisis that they are suffering, but it is crucial that the solutions provided are accompanied by a real agenda on competitiveness in the medium and long term. The Spanish presidency of the Council must thus be a vector for:

  • giving businesses the breathing space they need in regulations while respecting the principles of proportionality and improvement of legislation;
  • extending the internal market in all areas so that it is resilient and sustainable;
  • creating a stable economic and fiscal environment that can ensure investment and provide support for the green and digital transitions;
  • supporting the competitiveness in key business ecosystems.

Firms here in Spain are committed to the twin transition as an essential lever for consolidating a competitive, innovative Europe. We have taken an active part in bringing our experience to ensure that the multiple regulations adopted are adapted to the actual circumstances of businesses, fostering their full potential. In the current context, we trust that the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU will seek to do as follows:

  • The green transition: turning decarbonisation and the circular economy into drivers of competitiveness.
  • Consolidating the digital transition and reinforcing innovation to ensure a competitive business ecosystem.

The Spanish government has announced an ambitious social agenda, proposing debates on the institutional framework, social dialogue, the social economy and democracy in the workplace, among others. In all cases, the right balance needs to be struck between ambition and the over-regulation with which businesses are burdened in social matters, while safeguarding competitiveness. Moreover, the European Year of Skills 2023 provides an opportunity to address gaps between supply and demand from businesses as regards qualifications and professional skills.

For businesses to tackle today’s challenges and achieve a more resilient, inclusive, diverse labour market it is essential.

  • A stable, flexible employment framework, reinforced by social dialogue
  • A culture of lifelong learning tailored to the needs of the employment market

In an international context with increasing uncertainty, businesses stress the role of trade policies as a key pillar not just for helping to attain sustainability goals but also for reinforcing the strategic open autonomy of the EU. Trade policy can and should play a fundamental role in supporting the competitiveness of the EU by complementing and supporting other EU policies (e.g. on climate change, innovation and industry), specifically by achieving the following goals:

  • To diversify supply chains
  • To reduce the costs of raw materials and inputs
  • To create market opportunities for European businesses
  • To improve security and mitigate geopolitical risks
  • To promote more sustainable regulations for production and trade
  • To guarantee a level playing field

It will be Spain’s responsibility to lead the debates on defining the concept of the “open strategic autonomy” of the EU. We believe it is essential that this process involves the private sector in reaching a definition and in deciding how it should be developed. Open strategic autonomy must be based on an impetus to competitiveness in the EU by strengthening its strategic industries, consolidating and diversifying strong and resilient supply chains and, of course, implementing policies that favour competitiveness and target the existing deficiencies. It is thus essential that the Spanish presidency of the Council seeks to do as follows:

  • To strengthen both the internal resilience of the internal market and the European leadership at a global level in all areas with a definition that does not leave any sector or Member State behind and does not yield into the temptation of protectionism.
  • To support the concept in driving forward European competitiveness by strengthening strategic industrial sectors and consolidating and diversifying strong supply chains to remove current shortcomings.
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