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Speaking today at the start of the EU Industry Days, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren stressed the central role of the retail and wholesale ecosystem in supporting and driving economic recovery and Europe’s global competitiveness, but also a sector under immense pressure and in urgent need of help:
“As recognised by the European Commission, retail & wholesale is one of the essential ecosystems and one the worst affected by the COVID pandemic. Private consumption makes up over half of European GDP. As a consequence, the retail and wholesale ecosystem is pivotal to creating markets for the goods and services that many ecosystems produce, and it is crucial for the economic recovery. Yet, much of our sector, with millions of SMEs, is facing imminent bankruptcy and is in need of urgent help to continue and accelerate its digital and green transformation.”Read more
With this statement, BusinessEurope and the signatory European sectoral employers express the clear message to public authorities and trade unions at all levels that European employers are committed to make their best efforts to continually employ and create new job opportunities in Europe, highlighting at the same time their needs to be able to do so.
The EU, in common with the rest of the global economy, is presently experiencing the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Whilst the situation remains very uncertain, the European Commission forecast is for the EU economy to fall by about 8.3% this year, far deeper than during the Global Financial crisis in 2009.
Europe’s response to the crisis has so far allowed to contain the employment and social impact of the crisis in a more effective way than has been the case in other world regions. Strong and autonomous social partners in Europe have been an asset for rapidly designing and implementing fairly balanced crisis-related solutions, including the role of collective bargaining.
In particular, BusinessEurope and the signatory European sectoral employers have engaged in a variety of initiatives and activities in the last months, with their respective trade union counterparts, aiming to inform the European response to the crisis based on their real time analysis of economic and social trends deriving from the Covid-19 crisis.Read more
The below signatories call for the immediate setting up of a hospitality task force across the EU Institutions to discuss the impact that COVID-19 has had on business and jobs and deliver a road map for the recovery of the hospitality sector and its value chain.
COVID-19 has hit Europe hard, taking thousands of lives, destroying families and impacting the health of many more people. We would like to first and foremost commend the hard work and diligence of Europe’s health and frontline workers, who have proven themselves the true heroes of this crisis. We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival and distribution of successful vaccines gives us hope for 2021 and a successful recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit livelihoods and businesses hard, throwing Europe’s restaurants, bars, hotels, cafés, pubs and nightclubs into a deep crisis. The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit, with businesses being forced to shut down at short notice as part of the collective fight against the virus and many workers being laid off temporarily or definitely.
It has led to a dramatic knock-on effect on its suppliers. Many actors in the food supply chain such as farmers, processors, traders, wholesalers, and food and drinks manufacturers face severe hardship. Many of these sectors are primarily made up of SMEs and these businesses are intrinsic to the functioning of the hospitality sector.
We turn towards 2021 with the core objective of creating some predictability for the hospitality sector and its supply chain, through a safe, timely and sustainable reopening as soon as the economy starts to open up again.
These hospitality businesses are part of the European social and economic fabric, bringing diversity and vitality to city centres, rural communities, villages and tourist areas across Europe. Bars, restaurants and cafés help attract people to town centre shopping districts and, likewise, these shopping destinations help bring custom to town centre hospitality venues. This is part of the European way of life, combining tourism, high quality food, services and culture.