From October 25-26, 2023, the representation of Baden-Württemberg to the EU organised an Economic Summit. The two-day summit was the flagship event on European policymaking of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism of Baden-Württemberg.
On 25 October 2023, EARLALL attended the debate as part of the event entitled “Shaping Transformation – Strengthening Competitiveness”. The panel welcomed Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, European Commission; Dr Rainer Dulger, President of the Entrepreneurs Baden-Württemberg and President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations; Günther H. Oettinger, President of United Europe e.V., Former Vice President of the European Commission and former Minister-President of the State of Baden-Württemberg and Minister Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut MP to the debate.
Minister Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut MP opened the discussion by stating the importance of hosting an Economic Summit in relation to Baden-Württemberg, as strong regions with globally focused companies are needed to tackle the twin transition. Within the framework of the rising challenges across Europe, such as geopolitical tensions and competition for green technologies, it is “up to Europe to be strong and not be lost”. Dr Hoffmeister-Kraut also outlined the three drivers in the EU: innovation, strong regions like Baden-Württemberg and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The discussion was then opened to the invited speakers. Dr Rainer Dulger highlighted the importance of thinking strategically when it came to the economic transformation of Europe, and how these strategies need to be linked to specific sectors. Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, European Commission, pointed out that “renewal of industry is possible in the green deal”. Moreover, Commissioner Schmit highlighted the need to upskill and reskill millions of Europeans who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs), in order to meet the demands of the green transition and the needs of European industries.
Minister Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut MP underlined that in Baden-Württemberg, there are strong SMEs and startups, and this talent and opportunity needs to be fostered. Finally, Günther H. Oettinger, brought the conversation back to tapping into the potential of the workforce, involving further cooperation between European businesses, regional stakeholder groups and the reduction of administrative burden on small European companies.
The Economic Summit Baden Württemberg – EU continued on 26 October 2023 with interesting workshops around the topics of Hydrogen as a sustainable source of energy, trade in a global market under stress and Artificial Intelligence.
The session was opened by Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut MP, State Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism who highlighted the importance of regional cooperation to overcome the challenges that the present economic and geopolitical context imposes. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the conflict in Israel and Gaza, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis have put huge pressure on economic players and businesses everywhere in Europe.
Regarding Hydrogen, Dr. Jan Stefan Roell, Vice President of the Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce Baden-Württemberg, President of the IHK Ulm und Speaker of the BWIHK Task Force Hydrogen, explained that we need the right education and training systems that can provide the jobs and skills that are needed for a Hydrogen oriented economy. Innovation may be a feature in Baden Württemberg, but strong cooperation among European regions to meet the labour and industry demand of the hydrogen sector is needed.
Turning this desire into action, a cooperation agreement was signed between the between the Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce Baden-Württemberg and its counterpart, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Region Grand Est.