European Round Table for Industry

The European Round Table for Industry (previously known as the European Round Table of Industrialists), abbreviated ERT, is a cross-sectoral forum and advocacy group in the European Union consisting of some 60 European industrial businesspeople working on competitiveness in Europe.

History edit

The European economy in the early 1980s was regarded as suffering from eurosclerosis; the European Economic Community (EEC) was perceived as suffering from a lack of innovation and competitiveness.

At the initiative of Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, the CEO of Volvo, 17 European business leaders met in the Paris boardroom of Volvo on 6 and 7 April 1983. They envisioned the creation of an organisation that tried to communicate that Europe needed to modernise its industrial bases. The meeting in Paris was attended by Gyllenhammar, Karl Beurle (Thyssen), Carlo De Benedetti (Olivetti), Curt Nicolin (ASEA), Harry Gray (United Technologies), John Harvey-Jones (ICI), Wolfgang Seelig (Siemens), Umberto Agnelli (Fiat), Peter Baxendell (Shell), Olivier Lecerf (Lafarge Coppée), José Bidegain (Cie de St Gobain), Wisse Dekker (Philips), Antoine Riboud (BSN), Bernard Hanon (Renault), Louis von Planta (Ciba-Geigy) and Helmut Maucher (Nestlé). François-Xavier Ortoli. Étienne Davignon of the European Commission attended the latter part of the meeting. During meetings that followed later that year, the ERT was established.

The Single Market edit

Promoting the European single market would become ERT’s objective. In its first ever publication, a memorandum to the EC Commissioner Étienne Davignon in April 1983, the ERT catalogued 'challenges' in the European industry. Among these was the need to upgrade infrastructure, roads and communications.

In November 1984, ERT co-founding member Wisse Dekker (Philips) presented "Europe 1990: An Agenda for Action", a plan backed by the ERT on achieving a European Single Market, at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. The plan was then presented at a public speech in January 1985 to an audience with the newly appointed Commissioners, led by Jacques Delors. Delors’ speech to the European Parliament a few days later set out his ideas for completing the Single Market. In June 1985, the European Commission published its white paper "Completing the Single Market", which led to the Single European Act of 1986.

ERT promotes the construction of the Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden as part of its European Link project. This project also included several other international European infrastructural projects, such as the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany. Later, ERT became active in the promotion of the earliest Trans-European Networks.

1990s edit

ERT's was under chairmen: Wisse Dekker (Netherlands), Jérôme Monod (France) and Helmut Maucher (Switzerland), with Keith Richardson as secretary general. During this time, ERT published reports. Its role in encouraging the first global G8 cooperation on building common standards was recognised by several country leaders, including President Bill Clinton. The ERT was a vocal supporter of EU enlargement.

2000–2019 edit

The ERT published its paper "Actions for Competitiveness through the Knowledge Economy in Europe" in March 2001, calling for national education systems to focus on in-demand skills and for employers to invest in lifelong learning. It stressed easier access to venture capital and intellectual property protection.

In September 2009, ERT called for the creation of a European coordinating body. This would eventually come into effect in 2011 in the shape of the European Coordinating Body in Maths, Science and Technology Education (ECB), which ran until 2014. The decline of research and development (R&D) investment in Europe was one of five main topics addressed in ERT’s "Vision for a Competitive Europe in 2025", published in February 2010.

In 2019, Secretary General Frank Heemskerk revised the name and brand of ERT and expanded its secretariat.

Criticism edit

The Brussels Business is a 2013 documentary film by Friedrich Moser and Matthieu Lietaert with the topic on the lack of transparency and the influence of lobbyists on the European Union's decision-making processes. ERT figures largely in the film as an organisation that has had the closest links with the EU; those on European traffic networks borrowed heavily from ERT reports.[1]

In a report by the former secretary general of the ERT, Keith Richardson, entitled Big Business and the European Agenda, the Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Diversity Europe's (ASEED Europe's) report called Misshaping Europe is quoted.

Presenting a report under the name of the ERT seems to be the only way of getting the attention of the leaders of the EC (the European Community, as it then was). Time after time the ERT has succeeded in getting the EC to adopt the agenda of business at the expense of the environment, of labour and social concerns and genuine democratic participation.... The political agenda of the EC has to a large extent been dominated by the ERT......While the approximately 5000 lobbyists working in Brussels might occasionally succeed in changing details in directives, the ERT has in many cases been setting the agenda for and deciding the content of EC proposals."[2]

Chairs edit

List of members in 2023 edit


References edit

  1. ^ "The Brussels Business - Who Runs the European Union". Archived from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  2. ^ Keith Richardson, Big Business and the European Agenda (2000), The Sussex European Institute, p.30
  3. ^ Members of the ERT
  • Cowles, M., G., Setting the agenda for a new Europe: the ERT and EC 1992, In: Journal of Common Market Studies, 33, 1995,
  • Cowles, M., G., The rise of the European multinational, In: International Economic Insights, 1993
  • ERT, Will European governments in Barcelona keep their Lisbon promises?, Message from the European Round Table of Industrialists to the Barcelona European Council, March 2002. Brussel, Feb. 2002
  • Marchipont, J.-F. (1997). "La stratégie industrielle de l'Union Européenne". Revue d'économie industrielle. 71 (1). Luxemburg: Éditions Continent Europe: 17–37. doi:10.3406/rei.1995.1555.
  • Preston, M., E., The European commission and special interest groups, In: Claeys, P.-H., Gobin, C., Smets, I., Lobbyisme, pluralisme et intégration Européenne. Brussel, Presses Interuniversitaires Européennes, 1998, ISBN 978-9052018034
  • Richardson, K. (2000). "Big business and the European agenda". Sussex European Institute Working Paper. 35. University of Sussex.

External links edit