CER/Bertelsmann Stiftung hybrid launch of 'Why cities must drive growth in the EU's single market'

20 June 2024
Hybrid Brussels/Zoom

Cinzia Alcidi, Senior Research Fellow & Head, Economic Policy Unit & Jobs & Skills Unit, Centre for European Policy Studies
Peter Berkowitz, Director for Policy (REGIO.B), Directorate-General for Regional & Urban Policy, European Commission
Lucas Resende Carvalho, Project Manager, Europe's Future Programme, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Frederik Toscani, Deputy Representative to the EU, International Monetary Fund
Chiara Venturini, Head of Digital Transformation & Economic Development, Eurocities
Chair: John Springford, Associate Fellow, Centre for European Reform

As the EU launches its new 2024-2029 legislature, it faces major economic challenges. Economic growth is sluggish and lags behind that of the US. The search for higher growth, coupled with the risk of global trade fragmentation, has rekindled European ambitions to further rely on deepening its internal market for services and capital - a strategy advocated by former Italian prime-ministers Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi. Since joining the EU in 2004, Central and Eastern European regions have emerged as goods trade hubs thanks to cheaper labour and land. However, this convergence engine for manufacturing will eventually run out of steam. Meanwhile, rapidly growing trade in high-value services like tech, finance and consulting provide a new opportunity for European economic dynamism. But unlike goods trade, these activities tend to concentrate heavily in already large and prosperous cities. 

As the EU contemplates deepening the single market, how can it boost economic growth from service trade integration while spreading out the gains? Should the EU re-orient its regional policy to invest in cities that show promise in services exports, from peripheral EU capitals like Athens and Lisbon to smaller knowledge hubs such as Krakow or Leipzig? And what should it do for regions that can neither climb the manufacturing value ladder nor tap into services trade?

This event launched 'Why cities must drive growth in the EU's single market' by John Springford, Sander Tordoir and Lucas Resende Carvalho.