The High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth agreed on its work programme

The High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth agreed on its work programme

The EU High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth met in Brussels on 24 January 2019. The working group approved a new working programme for the coming 18-month period, during which the group’s work will be steered by a Finnish chair.

Director for EU and International Affairs Janne Känkänen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be chairing the working group during the EU Presidency of Romania, Finland and Croatia, from January 2019 to June 2020. The working group comprises top civil servants from all 28 EU member states.

“The work programme focuses on the objectives for the next five years and on the issues most crucial for European competitiveness, which we have jointly identified,” Känkänen explains.

“It is important to ensure economic growth in Europe, but it is equally important to emphasise sustainability. Sustainable growth is a common denominator for all the policy measures our group will recommend to the European Union for the next five years,” Känkänen elaborates.

According to Känkänen, participation in a high level working group provides member states an opportunity to understand each others’ viewpoints, which may differ quite significantly. This understanding will facilitate the formulation of shared views in the Competitiveness Council, which outlines future EU policies on competitiveness at the highest political level, and in meetings between EU heads of state.

“This is the first time Finland chairs this group, and it is a significant opportunity for influencing,” Känkänen summarises.

Preparatory role

The High Level Working Group outlines the big picture for the future, and needs an approach reaching far into the future. It also prepares meetings of the Competitiveness Council where EU ministers convene to decide on measures to promote the EU’s competitiveness and growth. 

The High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth discusses matters that can have significant impact on the EU’s competitiveness. Themes include sustainable growth, transformation of work, digital economy and artificial intelligence, among others. The Group aims to increase the EU’s chances of success in global competition against other economic powers, such as the United States and China.