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Business services crucial for keeping Europe's industry fit


Probably one of the most important new business developments is the way the interaction between services and industry is changing. To some extent it is a trend which has been going on for years with, for example, increased outsourcing by industrial firms of certain “non-core” functions.

Therefore, the importance of Business Services should be adequately reflected in the Europe 2020 Strategy according to a report which the High Level Group on Business Services delivered today.

Business services are services provided by businesses to other businesses. Typical examples include: management consultancies and legal services, design, engineering and technical maintenance services, recruitment, security and industrial cleaning. Business services are an integrated part of our industrial value chains and essential for European competitiveness, a strong Single Market and an industrial renaissance.

The global business services market is estimated at more than €3.5 trillion and is believed to have doubled in size in the last decade. In Europe, business services account for 11.7% of our GDP and 12% of employment (1 in 8 jobs in Europe is in business services). Furthermore, since 1999, business services have been growing more than twice as fast (2.4% yearly average growth rate) as the average of all other EU sectors (1.1%).


"Business services in Europe have a significant untapped growth potential, especially in terms of productivity and innovation uptake. The Group's Report has put the spotlight on the important role that business services play for the European economy. It demonstrates that high performing business services are crucial for our economic value chains and hence European competitiveness. Business services will be essential for chieving an industrial renaissance."

Vice-President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani    
More flexible visa rules to boost growth and job creation

Many non-EU nationals wishing to travel to the EU are often faced with cumbersome, lengthy and costly visa procedures.

The proposals presented on 1st April 2014 will seriously shorten and simplify the procedures for those wanting to come to the EU for short stays, and induce more cost savings and less bureaucracy, whilst maintaining the level of security. Making the access to the Schengen area easier for legitimate travellers will facilitate visiting friends and relatives and doing business. It will boost economic activity and job creation in, for instance, the tourism sector as well as in related activities such as restaurant and transport industries. A recent study shows that in 2012 a total number of 6.6 million potential travellers from six of the countries with the most travellers were 'lost' due to cumbersome visa procedures. It also showed that more flexible and accessible visa rules could lead to an increase in trips to the Schengen area of between 30% and up to 60%, only from these six countries.

Commission welcomes Parliament vote on decreasing vehicle noise

The European Parliament voted in favour of a Commission proposal to decrease vehicle noise. Noise limit values will ultimately be decreased by 4 dB(A) for passenger cars, vans, buses and coaches and for trucks by 3 dB(A).

Altogether, these measures will reduce vehicle noise nuisance by some 25%. Despite increasing traffic, noise emissions limits for vehicles have not changed since 1996. The limits values will be decreased in 3 steps: The first step will apply two years after publication of the final approval of today's proposal, followed by the second step in 5/7 years and the third step in 10/12 years.

Finally it is proposed that electric and hybrid electric vehicles be fitted with sound generating devices which would make these cars safer for pedestrians/visually impaired persons.

The World Health Organisation concluded that traffic related noise may account for 1 million healthy years of life lost per year in Western Europe. Hence, reduction of traffic noise is essential to improve the health and quality of life of Europe's citizens.


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Deadline: 12/05/2014

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