Saturday

17th Apr 2021

Stakeholder

We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises

The importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to our economies has long been recognised at EU level.

To be very frank, however, in recent years EU institutions have not delivered: we have heard too many empty speeches with the motto "SMEs are the backbone of our economy" without much follow up.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Martina Dlabajova MEP: 'We will need 'Next Generation EU' and the various multi-annual financial framework (MFF) programmes to complement national schemes and reach as many SMEs as possible, especially in those sectors that have suffered the most' (Photo: Renew)

We tend to make amendments that add "... including SMEs" to proposals, relegating SMEs to the role of an afterthought. The Small Business Act has been largely forgotten and, worse still, we see that the SME Test, which helps implement the important 'Think Small' Principle, has not been consistently applied in legislative proposals.

We need to do more, we need to do better, across EU institutions and political groups. We need to renew Europe's SME focus!

Europe's SMEs are everywhere around us.

They have been responsible for the vast majority of new jobs over the years, and our societies rely on them massively.

Covid-19 has made us realise just how vital our SMEs are, especially as the crisis has placed huge numbers in a precarious financial position and many have had to close their doors, while millions of jobs continue to be at risk.

If improving SMEs access to finance was essential prior to the crisis, it has now become crucial for their very survival.

The challenges that our SMEs are currently facing are so grave that the recovery calls for an unprecedented team effort, where no stone is left unturned.

Much of the focus will be on member states' various national schemes and support programmes, but the EU has an important role to play.

We will need 'Next Generation EU' and the various multi-annual financial framework (MFF) programmes to complement national schemes and reach as many SMEs as possible, especially in those sectors that have suffered the most.

The EU Single Market is critical for SMEs and it is crucial that we restore its full functionality, strengthen it further with the aim of completing it, and seek ways to help SMEs think of future opportunities across Europe and the world.

Digital and Green

We must not forget either that SMEs are at the centre of the twin transition to a green and digital Europe, and a vital source of creativity and innovation - in other words, contributing to Europe's sustainable future growth.

Entrepreneurship and industry are also important parts of the European SME fabric: while companies can scale up and grow, no company was born big, and therefore we need to set the right conditions for entrepreneurship, opportunity for newcomers and true second chance to those struggling.

Many SMEs and entrepreneurs have been able to respond to this crisis, demonstrating how quickly they can adapt and innovate.

This innovation drive and effort must be recognised: SMEs should be at the core of the long-term strategy for European industrial recovery.

My group in the European Parliament, Renew Europe, has just adopted a position paper that highlights our views on SMEs.

We have identified numerous actions, legislations, and initiatives that we intend to develop, monitor and work on. Above all, we have expressed a commitment to look always at EU initiatives and legislation through an 'SME lens'.

We want to see SMEs visibly at the centre of the EU's plans.

As one concrete measure, we have made the call for the commission to come forward with a "State of the SME Union" type of review and debate, to be held annually in the Parliament's plenary sitting.

This would allow us to monitor progress better on this extremely important topic. We need to do more for our SMEs, and we need to start now.

Author bio

Martina Dlabajova is a Czech MEP with the liberal Renew Europe group, vice chair of the budgetary control committee and Renew Europe coordinator for the industry committee.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Opinion

Europe's migration system is broken: Renew has a plan

The failure of successful integration of migrants and refugees granted stay in Europe puts the entire asylum and migration policy at risk. Member states have to step up their integration policies.

Post-Covid is a different world - EU needs to secure a role

The Covid-19 crisis shook up the world profoundly, and we haven't found the politics to cope with it yet. That is the harsh but undeniable conclusion of a new parliamentary report by Renew Europe MEP Hilde Vautmans.

Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence

This is not about supposedly traditional values – when was violence against women ever a value? – it is about living up to the European values we all signed up to. We have to put pressure on Poland.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Synergy need to tackle climate change in Mediterranean

The Interreg Med, a cross-border initiative of 13 countries around the Mediterranean Sea, has made the fight against climate change the cornerstone of its strategy for the next years - since the region is facing irreversible environmental damage.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us