EBS Timeline


Under the theme “The Business Agenda 2014 – 2019: Rebuilding a Competitive Europe”, EBS 2014 brought together more than 1,850 participants representing European industry, opinion leaders, high-level European and national politicians to have a close look at and discuss opportunities to support growth and competitiveness in Europe. The European Business Summit provided an excellent platform to explore how to achieve these ambitious targets and how to put Europe back on track.


The 11th edition of the European Business Summit entitled "Unlocking Industrial Opportunities - An EU Strategy for Competitiveness" focused on the challenge of the re-industrialisation of Europe - including services - and the promotion of innovation in Europe. The event took place in the Cinquantenaire. The summit looked at the various issues affecting industry in Europe through horizontal sessions and more specific, sectorial panels.  


EBS 2012 brought together more than 1200 participants representing European and international business, governments and opinion leaders in order to think about an inspiring topic: "Skills for Growth". Interactivity was a keyword at EBS 2012. 'Open Forum Sessions' took place for the first time as a new format of debates in small groups on the following topics: dual systems of education, skills for SME's and intellectual proprety rights. 


EBS 2011 was a truly ‘global’ Business Summit, bringing together participants of a record number of nationalities, under the theme "Europe in the world: Leading or Lagging?" For the first time ‘bilateral’ sessions took place with business and government representatives from other parts of the world including Asia, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Canada, the US, North Africa and the Middle East. A Report prepared by Accenture was launched based on interviews with over 400 CEOs on the question: how can Europe ride the new waves of growth? Business leaders showed overwhelmingly (67%) optimistic about future growth perspectives for the EU.  


The 2010 EBS concentrated on "how to put Europe back on track". Through plenary sessions, the President's Debate and interactive sessions, the 8th edition of the EBS focused on topics as economic recovery, financial regulation, trade for growth, the place of Europe in the world, new skills for new jobs, climate change and energy, innovation, clean-tech and the future shape of the EU's socio-economic model. The EBS 2010 presented the first EBS CEO Survey collecting the views of 500 business leaders on what Europe needs to get back on track.


The 7th edition of the European Business Summit, organised by BUSINESSEUROPE and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium, in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), has become Europe's number one dialogue between business leaders and policy makers. With the theme 'Dare and Care: sustaining Europe's ambitions; Financing, Staffing, Greening, the EBS have developed a varied programme with three plenary sessions and fifteen workshops, built around these three leading themes. Business leaders discussed with high-level decision makers, academics and NGOs from around the world on issues like the financial crisis, clean tech innovation, skills, climate change and energy and ageing.


With the topical theme “Greening the Economy: new Energy for Business”, this EBS focused on climate change and energy policy; how Europe can turn the carbon challenge into a business opportunity, giving new energy to growth and job creation. During the three plenary sessions, Presidents’ debate and 11 workshops, 100 speakers and participants from different countries discussed topics such as emissions trading, renewable energy, security of energy supply, eco-innovation, transport and global climate competition.


With the theme “Reform to Perform: Europe is our Business”, EBS 2007 celebrated 50 years of Europe. The summit focused on the accomplishments of Europe with regard to four freedoms of movement – goods, services, capital and people. In the course of 12 workshops, top managers of multinational corporations exchanged their views with the EU’s political elite. The Networking Village provides innovative companies, governments and organisations having an interest in EU affairs and investments with the opportunity to present themselves or products, to attract investors and have a visible impact on the EU decision-making. A unique chance to get in tune with Europe


EBS 2006 had as main theme "Building a Europe of Excellence: Turning knowledge into growth". At its fourth edition the National Reform Programmes of all 25 EU Member States was discussed, for the first time together with the business community. The Lisbon representatives of the 25 national governments, more than 1.500 business leaders and EU policy makers exchanged best practices and recommended concretely on a more competitive Europe through knowledge and innovation.


After the success of the two first editions, the European Commission, UNICE and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium have decided to focus on “Research and innovation: A European strategy for more growth and jobs” at the third European Business Summit. On March 11 and 12 more than a thousand participants (including more than 80 speakers) from the world of business, politics and academia, along with NGOs, met for an exchange of views and to exert their joint influence to build a stronger, more competitive Europe. More than 40 different nationalities were represented. Several Commissioners, top European civil servants and business leaders were reunited in Brussels, which for two days became the European capital of Research and Innovation 


On its first edition, EBS was designed as an annual event to address the issues affecting the European business community. However its second edition took place only in June 2002. The event was attended by several European Commissioners, as well as representatives of business and civil society. The official theme was "Sustainable development in an enlarged Europe", but the main demand coming from EBS 2002 was for a further boost in the powers of the European Commission in order to speed up neoliberal reforms in the EU. According to the organisers, the EBS was the "most important European dialogue between leading business people and policy makers". In common with the first EBS, in June 2000, the event was hosted by the Belgian employers' federation FEB and the European umbrella group UNICE, in close cooperation with the European Commission. Several Commissioners participated in debates during the Summit. Networking was encouraged at the event, with a dedicated "exhibition and networking village" available for exchange of views and details.


The European Business Summit, organised for the first time by the European and Belgian employers' federations UNICE and FEB, gave some of the most senior CEOs worldwide the chance to deliver concrete proposals to EU Commissioners on ways of making the European economy more dynamic and innovative. 1,000 of Europe's business leaders and officials from EU institutions gathered in Brussels in Sheraton hotel. The focus of the European Business Summit centred around the same themes of the EU's Lisbon Summit held just three months before in March - namely 'competitiveness', 'innovation' and 'creativity'. In the eyes of many of the organisers and participants, the EBS served as a direct follow-up conference to the Lisbon summit. This was reinforced by Commission President Romano Prodi in a communiqué to the EBS: "We are glad that the business community is responding to this invitation by organising the first European Business Summit. The EBS will be an important event in the post-Lisbon process towards promoting innovation and creativity in Europe." 

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Under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King of the Belgians