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On February 26, 2021, the Association of European Businesses organised its traditional Annual Strategy Meeting, which was held online and was devoted to the results of 2020 and main targets and initiatives for the future.

While opening the meeting AEB CEO Tadzio Schilling marked out that "AEB met 2021 in good shape in the new normal", providing actual COVID-19 alert and HQS support for its members, increasing its digital activities, extending its presence in the regions and having completed the process of adopting amendments to the AEB Charter.


Speaking about the current EU-Russia relations, H.E. Markus Ederer, EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation, noted, that "he has never been as worried as today". The Ambassador told about the continuing deterioration of bilateral relations, which may still not have reached its lowest point. He also expressed concerns about the growing policy of localization and import substitution in Russia, which, in his opinion, could lead to the self-isolation of Russia and worsen the business climate.
However, the EU Ambassador also marked out some possible openings for practical further cooperation:
- Combating climate change and hydrogen economy development
- Area of healthcare 
- Digital sector (including 5G technologies)
- Technical level of contacts with the EAEU, Minpromtorg, etc. 

Markus Ederer welcomed the AEB Green Initiative project and noted the high importance of the AEB representatives’ meeting with Josep Borrell regarding open issues of the AEB member-companies’ operation on the Russian market. 


During the second part of the meeting the participants took part in the online parallel workstreams:
 - Next Gen GR Strategy & Innovation;
 - Brand, Digital Communications, Strategic Positioning;
 - Enhanced Cross-Committee Cooperation.

After vivid discussion inside the parallel session groups, the participants presented key ideas and insights concerning ways of further development of AEB activities.


Here are some of them:
 - More in-depth communication with other industrial associations and think tanks;
 - Creation of AEB White Paper re Best Practices in localization;
 - To enhance success stories of AEB lobbying activities and AEB members;
 - To increase media and social media activities;
 - To create digital common platform for information exchange;
 - To share committee work with other relevant AEB committees and to define strategic and tactic objectives for each committee, etc.