"...Etienne Davignon and his colleague Francois-Xavier Ortoli, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, attended the later stages of the April founding meeting in Paris. It was the occasion for a great deal of lively debate and the first airing of many of the ideas and concerns that were to preoccupy ERT for the coming 20 years: high costs and low profits, fragmentation of the European market and excessive interference by governments, and the fundamental need to maintain and rebuild an industrial base in Europe across a broad strategic front, from new technologies to telecommunications. The discussion was sufficiently fruitful to convince those present that it was worth going ahead.
The organisation, charter and financial arrangements for ERT were agreed at a second meeting of Members (afterwards always referred to as "Plenary Sessions”) on 1 June 1983 in Amsterdam. The overarching objective would be to promote competition and competitiveness on a continental scale.
Volvo was charged with setting up a small Secretariat inside one of its Paris-based divisions. In 1985 ERT appointed its first full-time Secretary General, Peter Ekenger, and hired an office in Paris..."
"...ERT’s “core business” since the mid-1980s has been securing the development and implementation of the European Single Market programme. Jacques Delors, past President of the European Commission (1985-1995) and one of the key advocates of the Single Market, has publicly recognised the important role played by ERT in this area.
Today, the organisation maintains a sharp vision of the Single Market structure needed to offer economies of scale and competitiveness in the global market. It continues, therefore, to argue for the elimination of the still-powerful obstacles that prevent business securing the full benefits of the Single Market. In recent years it has campaigned vigorously, for example, for a Community patent system and an end to fragmented national regulations that frustrate efforts towards entrepreneurship and innovation.
ERT’s first competitive priority was infrastructure. Its 1984 report “Missing Links”, proposed three major infrastructure projects: Euro-Route – a Channel link between England and France, Scanlink – a plan to fill in the road and rail gaps between Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Northern Germany; and proposals for a trans-European network of high-speed trains.
It would be exaggerated to claim sole credit for these projects, but the ERT report certainly contributed to the ongoing discussion and later to the realisation of all three projects in modified form.The Treaty of Maastricht and its timetable for European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was welcomed by ERT, as it regarded a single currency as a necessary pillar for the Single Market, and a means to reduce the cost of doing business. Members were active in encouraging the successful implementation of the Maastricht timetable based on the adoption of the euro as the single currency in 1999 and the introduction of euro notes and coins in 2002..."