European Round Table of Industrialists

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The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is a peak business association of around 40 members, who are 'Chairmen and Chief Executives of large multinational companies, representing all sectors of industry, which have their headquarters in Europe and also significant manufacturing and technological presence worldwide.' Membership is by invitation only. Almost all observers agree that the ERT is an immensely powerful body, which is well integrated into the EU machinery and has a key role in framing EU policies and directives.[1]

The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) was founded in Paris as a private circle of 17 European industrialists in 1983 to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy on the world stage through 'improved dialogue between industry and government, at both national and European levels'.[2] It now has 48 members. Its work covers a wide range of subjects, from education to liberalisation of the economies of developing countries. It was a major force behind closing the Uruguay Round and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The ERT Members meet in Plenary Session twice a year. The Plenary Session determines the ERT work programme, sets priorities, votes budgets and decides on the publication of ERT reports and proposals. The decisions are taken by consensus.

The ERT Chairman, two vice-Chairmen and five other elected Members form the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee reviews ERT activities and makes proposals to the Plenary Sessions. Each ERT Member nominates an Associate to act as a main point of liaison at working level and to help implement the decisions taken by Members. ERT Members nominate Press Officers who help coordinate ERT communications to national governments, EU institutions and the press.

Much of the work is done by Working groups established by the Plenary Session. They are chaired by ERT Members and staffed by Members, Associates and experts from the ERT companies. Groups cover subjects such as education, employment, environment, competitiveness, the internal market, enlargement, taxation...

The ERT identifies the most important issues, analyses the critical factors and makes its views known to the political decision-makers at national and European level by means of reports, position papers and face-to-face discussions. At European level, the ERT has contacts with the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Every six months the ERT meets with the government that holds the EU presidency to discuss priorities. At national level, each Member has personal contacts with his own national government and parliament, business colleagues and industrial federations, other opinion- formers and the press.

The ERT has close contacts with UNICE (Union of Industrial and Employers Confederations of Europe), the official representative body of the European business and industry world vis- à-vis the European institutions. This group discusses important non-sectoral trade issues and inter-regional partnerships from the perspective of global European companies and in the context of the global framework for business. ERT also supports the activity of the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) and the Trans Atlantic Policy Network (TPN). In 1997 the ERT published a report, European Industry and the Developing World For a Global Framework of Mutual Interest and Trust:

ERT calls on governments, international organisations and private investors to intensify

their discussions on setting up a new framework agreement that reflects the reality of global trading by developing countries. This contribution is based on practical experience and original research. The common objective is to establish a new and coherent set of global rules for international and local private investment. from the ERT website




Cesar Alierta Izuel - Telefónica Nils S. Andersen - Carlsberg Jean-Louis Beffa - Saint-Gobain Wulf Bernotat - E.ON

Martin Broughton - British Airways

  • Antonio Brufau - Repsol YPF
  • Antony Burgmans - Unilever
  • Bertrand Collomb - Lafarge
  • Gerhard Cromme - ThyssenKrupp
  • Dimitris Daskalopoulos - Delta Holding
  • Belmiro de Azevedo - SONAE, SGPS
  • Thierry Desmarest - TOTAL
  • Bülent EczacibaÅŸi - EczacibaÅŸi Group
  • John Elkann - Fiat
  • Jukka Härmälä - StoraEnso
  • Zsolt Hernádi - MOL
  • Franz Humer - F. Hoffmann-La Roche
  • Daniel Janssen - Solvay
  • Leif Johansson - Volvo
  • Henning Kagermann - SAP
  • Klaus Kleinfeld - Siemens
  • Gerard Kleisterlee - Royal Philips Electronics

Thomas Leysen - Umicore Gerard Mestrallet - Suez Bernd Pischetsrieder - Volkswagen Pasquale Pistorio - STMicroelectronics Manuel Pizarro - Endesa Eivind Reiten - Norsk Hydro Kai-Uwe Ricke - Deutsche Telekom John Rose - Rolls-Royce Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer - OMV Paolo Scaroni - Eni Manfred Schneider - Bayer Louis Schweitzer - Renault Paul Skinner - Rio Tinto Michael Smurfit - Smurfit Kappa Group Peter Sutherland - BP Jean-François van Boxmeer - Heineken

Ben Verwaayen - BT Jacob Wallenberg - Investor AB

Hans Wijers - Akzo Nobel

List of current members 2011

Further Reading


  2. This article is based in part on Baby Milk Action Seeing Through the Spin, Appendix 15 Behind the Scenes, 2005
  3. Source: