Business confidence for 2023 is even lower than the Great Financial Crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic according to the 30th annual Eurochambres Economic Survey.

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Concerns about affordable access to energy and raw materials, skills shortages and labour costs are among the key challenges that shape the findings, based on responses from over 42,000 companies in 25 European countries.

The results of the survey are a consequence driven by the supply chain impact of Covid-19, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and energy cost driven inflation. All EES2023 indicators show that businesses across Europe expect the business environment to get even tighter.

Entrepreneurs are grappling with rising wages and production costs. Uncertainty about supply chains and the economic outlook exacerbate this. Europe-wide there are sharp year on year drops in export, employment and investment expectations, while domestic sales forecasts are slightly down compared to 12 months ago.

Speaking at the Launch, Chambers Ireland’s Head of Policy, Shane Conneely said:

“Ireland is well placed to deal with many of the problems that are affecting businesses across Europe, and that is reflected in the data.

“However, there are uncertainties regarding the strength of the domestic economy to maintain its momentum over 2023 and worries that export trade will decline too.

“Many of our members are concerned that a recession in Britain will have a dampening effect on Irish output.

“Energy is the key conversation not only in Ireland but across Europe, government need to ensure that our planning system can deliver the renewable energy projects we so desperately need.”

Reacting to the findings, Eurochambres President, Luc Frieden, commented:

“Business as usual is not an option for our entrepreneurs, and it is not an option for our policy-makers either. Massive investments in renewable energy as well as a competitive business environment are what businesses in Europe need in these difficult times”.