By Martin Banks - 21st November 2012
Failing to reach an agreement would send a wrong signal to investors
The crunch summit of EU leaders this week is an opportunity for European leaders to "show unity and that Europe works".
The two-day meeting, which starts on Thursday, is also a chance to adopt an EU budget that will "help boost competitiveness, economic growth and job creation."
That is the view of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU) which represents US business interests in Europe.
It has urged EU leaders during their negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) to "reach an agreement on spending on areas that will bring the greatest added value to national spending and deliver future growth".
The influential organisation says that any agreement reached must safeguard the EU's flagship Horizon 2020 initiative which seeks to ensure the EU remains at the forefront of technological innovation.
It should, says AmCham, also protect the EU's "Connecting Europe Facility", which is supposed to help build the growth enablers of tomorrow.
Spending on programmes aimed at stimulating investment in human skills, such as Erasmus should also be protected at this week's summit, says the organisation.
AmCham EU also wants an assurance on the EU's cohesion policy, which, it says, remains an "important tool to drive growth across Europe".
Hendrik Bourgeois, chairman of AmCham EU, said, "We hope that member states will be able to put aside national differences at this extraordinary summit and finalise the negotiations.
"The budget represents a small percentage of the EU’s overall gross national income (GNI), and protracted negotiations could jeopardise EU programmes that are vital to improving the region's economy and competitiveness.
"In addition, failing to reach an agreement would send a wrong signal to investors and economic operators about the EU’s ability to adopt decisions that are necessary to address the economic challenges that the EU is facing."
Further comment ahead of the summit came from the European Federation of Inland Ports.
Its director Isabelle Ryckbost said, "European sea and inland ports realise that all governments are facing budgetary constraints but we will urge European leaders not to touch the €31.7bn foreseen for Europe’s transport infrastructure investments."
She added, "The new TEN-T policy is the result of more than two years of negotiations with all member states and stakeholders. The proposed TEN-T budget is based on a concrete plan."