On March 9th an extraordinary remote meeting of the “BussinessEurope” Council of Presidents (CoPres) took place where a joint address was adopted to the EU Heads of States and Governments before their informal meeting in Paris (Versailles) on 10-11th  of March.

The „BussinessEurope“ statement, addressed to EU Heads of States and Governments, emphasizes the importance of EU’s energy independence and the strengthening of the EU economy. The significance of the European Commission Communication „REPowerEU“, released on the previous day, which puts an accent on the common European action to make energy more affordable, secure, and sustainable was highlighted too.

In the statement, it is said that European companies are completely committed to promoting peace and democracy in this critical period of our history. Unity is essential. The excellent coordination in the European Union as well as with the USA and other partners should continue in other aspects of this crisis stages too: by implementing sanctions, adopting support measures, searching for solutions how to deal with supply disruptions, assisting EU‘s citizens and enterprises, located in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, etc.

It is noted that the latter days have demonstrated the global strength of the EU lying in its economic power, based on European values. It is of crucial significance that the EU should take proper care of its economy. The shocks of recent years clearly showed how important is to develop a more resistant economy in Europe. We must diminish dependence on unreliable suppliers as well as build coalitions with like-minded partners and diversify supply sources.

The European Union must urgently strengthen its inner market, diversify energy supply sources and routes to ensure its resilience. The Green Deal, more rapid implementation of renewable energy projects, hydrogen and alternative fuel, as well as the effectiveness of energy consumption – all of them are essential components in addressing this challenge. The demands for short-time energy should be satisfied not only for households but for the industry as well by anticipating the measures to combat high energy prices. European Union urgently needs to prepare and implement a coordinated plan foreseeing how to reduce our energy vulnerability further, better use up energy resources in medium and long-term periods and develop new energy partnerships. The EU and national governments institutions need to simplify and speed up authorization procedures for industrial, energy production, and infrastructure projects because, as we now see, the installation of industrial projects are slowed down, the usage of new technologies is limited even in renewable energy ones exactly due to these processes being delayed.

The statement outlines that business is united on its determination to work with leaders of the EU for the sake of peace and prosperity. All actors of the EU need to work together so mitigate the negative impact on the European economy, enhance the energy independence of the EU and strengthen its defense capabilities. The sanctions will have direct and indirect costs for companies and employees, so the measures of support should be foreseen before. The EU must defend its values and support Ukraine further. We understand that giving a perspective to the Ukrainian people is important and recognize the published Ukraine’s application to the EU examination if all necessary criteria are met.

The economic situation after Russia’s start of aggression against Ukraine had been also discussed during the meeting of “BusinessEurope”. The indirect effect of this war on supply chains and inflation is visible. It was emphasized that on conditions of war, the creation of the EU’s energy market and the aim to ensure common energy supply throughout the whole EU at uniform prices is a must. Some of “BusinessEurope” members expressed doubts if a very rapid and radical reduction of Russian-origin gas is possible without harming the EU’s economy and industry.

“Lithuanian business community understands that sanctions are a must and should be strengthened, even if the negative impact is felt. Nowadays everyone is given a historical opportunity to diversify trade further, reinforce ties with trustworthy partners and decrease dependence on Russia, especially in the field of energy. We must accelerate discussions in our capitals and Brussels to prepare for this transition and for all scenarios available. Lithuania is preparing – LNG, connections, renewable sources. Increasing support for Ukraine is crucial at this stage using all means possible” – emphasized the LPK president Vidmantas Janulevičius.

In the meeting regarding giving the EU candidate status to Ukraine spoke Lithuania, Poland, Norway, and Latvia by emphasizing the need of Ukraine’s society to hear that Ukraine belongs to Europe.

During the first days of invasion “Business Europe” published a statement where the invasion was condemned as well as solidarity with Ukraine expressed, and sanctions supported. The membership of Lukoil in “Business Europe” Advisory and Support Group (ASG) unifying more than 60 major international corporations was suspended.

The full text of the “BussinessEurope” statement is attached.