22 Jul, 2020

Vestager: to recover faster, member states must work together

Under the title ‘Recovering from COVID: Boosting Digital and the New Green Deal’, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager took part in an interview hosted by the European Business Summit on 16 July. The interview covered topics such as the role of businesses in the green and digital transitions, the recovery from the ongoing coronavirus crisis as well as the level playing field and fair global competition.

In her intervention, Vestager underlined the EU’s three main strategic goals for businesses – the fight against climate change, the best use of digital technologies and the digitalisation of societies and economies – and stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of working towards these goals in order to provide certainty for businesses.

Moreover, Vestager highlighted that the only way to protect and help businesses in Europe and to create European champions is by setting a fair competition environment and a level playing field. Protecting the businesses from potential foreign takeovers must also be ensured.

“Where there’s fair competition and a level playing field is where businesses are challenged to do their best,” she remarked.

When it comes to the EU-China relations, Vestager emphasized China’s role as a strategic competitor but also as a partner for key issues such as the fight against climate change. She reminded that every geopolitical player needs to be able to manage the paradox of decision-making: being autonomous and interconnected.

Vestager welcomed the involvement and efforts from the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic but reminded that when it comes to policies and decision, a formal structure is needed to ensure the participation of citizens as well as businesses: “The formalities of a democracy are what gives it transparency.” She also stressed that all EU Member States must cooperate to recover faster and emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.

Watch the full debate here

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