INDUSTRY GROUP URGES EC TO CUT COSTS, REGULATIONS

INDUSTRY GROUP URGES EC TO CUT COSTS, REGULATIONS

Leading European Community industrialists have called for lower tax and social security charges, fewer government regulations and higher investment in new technology to beat the recession and create jobs.

"Europe has become a high-cost, low-growth economy that is not adapting fast enough and is therefore losing its competitive advantage to more dynamic parts of the world," the European Round Table said in a report handed to the European Commission."The European Round Table calls for a radical shift in Europe's approach to industrial development and economic growth.

"Labor costs are the single major cause of falling competitiveness and rising unemployment. Work is there, but not at these prices," the report said.

"Action is needed to reduce the wedge between the high cost of employing people and the much lower sums they take home after paying tax and social charges.

"If the unemployed are to be priced back into the market then the total cost of employing them must be brought down.

The report said that the whole spectrum of transport, energy and

financial costs needs to be reduced through investment in and modernization of road, rail and telecommunications networks.

"There is enormous scope to simplify government and reduce the excessive overhead of bureaucracy. The aim of Europe should be to reduce the degree of control, but industry is hampered by cumbersome rules and an increasing burden of employment regulation at both European and national levels," the report said. "What is needed is a standstill on new regulations."

The report ends with a call for a Charter for Industry to map out a new strategy, and creation of a European Competitiveness Council to advise on and oversee implementation of the charter.