November 28, 2017

Dialogue between bayme vbm vbw members and the EU Parliament

Bavarian Oktoberfest in Brussels

Every other year, the traditional Oktoberfest takes place in Brussels with major support of the vbw – Bavarian Industry Association. On that occasion, the vbw organizes several key events on EU issues, providing its members with the opportunity to discuss EU policy face-to-face with representatives of EU institutions and gain first-hand information.

Political dialogue with Bavarian members of the European Parliament

vbw President Alfred Gaffal pointed out the mutual benefits of the relationship between Bavaria and the EU, its largest trading partner. Strengthening the EU is of central importance. However, this does not mean “more” European Union but rather a “better” Europe – as Gaffal put it. One that is more efficient, independent and following the principles of subsidiarity.

Meeting with Guillaume McLaughlin on Brexit

Gaffal regrets the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU: This will be detrimental to the British economy as well as to Germany and Bavaria. In the negotiations, the strengthening of the EU's internal market takes priority as the four fundamental freedoms are indefeasible. Looking at the slow progress, Gaffal stressed that there must not be a period of legal uncertainty.

Guillaume McLaughlin, Head of Guy Verhofstadt’s Leader Office and representative of the EU Parliament in the Brexit negotiations, outlined the position of the EU in the negotiating process. Issues such as the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and financial obligations must be negotiated. He welcomed that the British economy exerts pressure on its government for not having a strategy in the negotiations. Even if the EU 27's tolerance to the UK is low, he expects to reach an agreement by the end of March 2019 but does not exclude the possibility of a hard Brexit.

vbw fosters dialogue between Bavarian industries and the EU Parliament

In order to ensure an ongoing dialogue, the vbw organizes “Europa weiß-blau”, a periodical meeting between subsidiaries of its Bavarian member associations and companies based in Brussels and Bavarian members of the European Parliament.

On that occasion, Bertram Brossardt, CEO of vbw, pointed out the current EU issues of the Bavarian economy. He criticized the Commission's proposals on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Posting of Workers Directive. Social policy must remain a matter of member states and any softening of subsidiarity is not acceptable, according to Brossardt.

The key focus of the discussion was on digital transformation and the expected outcome for the automotive industry. The task of the EU is to set the framework conditions and to design technologically neutral regulations. The vehicle manufacturers are already providing different technologies to the customers which involves considerable costs and economic risks.


Volker Pitts-Thurm

Leiter Verbindungsbüro Brüssel

Volker Pitts-Thurm