Businesses forecast a very difficult 2021 in major new European survey
Publicat pe 11/11/2020
The 28th annual edition of the EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey reveals high levels of concern for next year among European businesses. The results underline the need for continuing support, swift and effective recovery measures, and a coordinated European response, stated Mihai Daraban, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and Christoph Leitl, EUROCHAMBRES President.
The newly published EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2021 (EES2021) sets out the expectations of over 58.000 businesses in 29 European countries for the year ahead. EES2021 results show that entrepreneurs anticipate a very tough year ahead as they deal with the ongoing impact of the corona pandemic on both productivity and demand.
The sharp overall deterioration in business confidence, reflected in a steep year-on-year drop across all EES indexes, clearly indicates that the European economic recovery will not be swift, with many entrepreneurs still trying to absorb the effect of the sharp economic downturn since March. Businesses in the vast majority of countries cite labour costs and financing conditions among the main challenges. Respondents from southern Europe are particularly worried about the debt accrued as a result of COVID-19, while western European countries highlight concerns about a lack of skilled workers.
In our country, Romanian entrepreneurs who participated in the EES2021 pointed out that the three main challenges they face and that will be a problem for their businesses in the next year are: lack of skilled workers, labour costs and financing conditions. In the category of less stringent concerns, which according to Romanian entrepreneurs, will not significantly affect their businesses, there are the following challenges: supply chain disruptions, price of energy and raw materials, repayment of debt accrued as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of Brexit.
The results of EES2021 reflect the unprecedented nature and scale of the ongoing economic crisis, which has not only impacted on demand but also dramatically hindered productivity. The legacy of this double whammy inevitably weighs heavily on European businesses in many ways. The policy response must be swift, effective and coordinated.
This year’s EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey offers valuable data for policy-makers at EU and national level as they plot a path towards a recovery. All tools must be used and EES2021 provides recommendations about those that are most important. At EU level, this starts with the single market. The crisis has seen the return of certain barriers but has also confirmed the crucial importance of free movement to Europe’s economy and society. The chamber network will continue to push for a stronger, more complete single market – we must seek not only to return to the pre-crisis situation but to move forward with long overdue reforms to and turn the EU into one domestic market for all businesses and consumers.
The EU’s drive for a twin digital and green transition must not be compromised, but the crisis underlines how vital it is that businesses – especially SMEs – are central to the process. That requires a ‘think small first’ approach to the drafting and delivery of the many legislative and non-legislative measures that will emerge from the European Commission over the coming months.
None of us know yet how the corona pandemic will pan out, but as restrictions tighten again across much of Europe, chamber of commerce and industry continue to work intensively with their business members to help them get through this crisis and be in a position to drive our recovery.
EES2021 confirms the scale of the challenge. It also confirms the need for effective solutions based on a coordinated European response. We invite EU and national policy-makers to work together and with the European chamber network to re-vitalise productivity, employment and investment to put our economy back on track.
The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey has been published for 28 consecutive years. It is the largest exercise of its kind. Companies from all sectors responded to a series of questions about how they expect to perform in 2021 in terms of domestic and export sales, workforce, business confidence, and overall investment. They were also asked about the main challenges that they anticipate in 2021. The survey ran for several weeks until early October.
The 28th edition of EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey can be viewed here.