Reversing the trend of companies off-shoring their production and services to foreign parts offers huge opportunities and can play a key part in our economic turnaround, MEPs have agreed in a landmark vote
The European Parliament, sitting in Strasbourg last week, gave overwhelming support to a report by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre on stimulating trade and innovation. They also backed a key amendment on the important issue of re-shoring – bringing back jobs previously situated abroad for perceived savings.
It is the first time any of the EU institutions has expressed such explicit support for the principle of re-shoring, which David Cameron's Government has endorsed for its potential in growth and jobs.
Miss McIntyre's report "Creating a Hospitable Environment for Enterprises, Businesses and Start-ups to Create Jobs" explores ways to improve access to finance, promote entrepreneurship and develop better regulation. It stresses the need to create the right regulatory environment by removing unnecessary barriers which impose disproportionate costs on businesses and inhibit their ability to grow, create jobs and compete globally.
The South Shropshire MEP said: "It is in this context that I along with 84 other MEPs tabled a plenary amendment. It highlights the recent trend of companies returning production and services to Europe and the opportunities this brings for job creation.
"I strongly believe that our economies have a unique opportunity to accelerate this trend of re‑shoring jobs and that the member states, together with the Commission, must take concrete steps to help businesses capitalise on the opportunities offered by re-shoring.
" SMEs and microenterprises must be equipped and supported with the know-how to access much-needed finance through resources such as one-stop shops and web portals.
"Given that the number of EU citizens who want to be self-employed has dropped from 45% to 37% in the last three years, it is important that an entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured from an early age right through to university, and that every effort is made to help sound businesses survive and give honest entrepreneurs a second chance.
"Growing international competition driven by increasingly skilled workforces has left the EU facing serious skill shortages and skill mismatches which are a brake on economic growth. There is a clear trend towards more skill-intensive jobs. The vast majority of the jobs that are expected to be created or become vacant by 2020 will require medium or high qualifications.
These are our challenges...but just as British renegotiation is starting to return power and money from Brussels, I believe deregulation and our war on red tape can start to see jobs and services return through re-shoring."