The Business Days have kicked-off today at the European Parliament, a Renew Europe’s two-day major event dedicated to listening to economic, business and industrial stakeholders with the aim of exchanging concerns, needs, solutions and recommendations to make EU legislation fit for the new challenges of the business environment in an increasingly volatile and uncertain geopolitical context.
Aware that small and medium-sized enterprises are the cornerstone of our European economy, the first day of Renew Business Days will be dedicated to SMEs, with the participation of the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton; the President of Eurochambres, Vladimír Dlouhý; the French Minister for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts and Tourism, Olivia Grégoire; and the Secretary General of SMEUnited, Veronique Willems, among others.
SMEs account for more than 95 % of all businesses in the EU, so they are a key driver for growth, employment and competitiveness across the EU. However, SMEs' access to European funding remains limited, dysfunctional and inefficient. This is one of the main conclusions of the study "Helping SMEs coping with crisis", commissioned by Renew Europe and carried out by independent experts, the results of which were presented today at the forum.
The study, which addresses the implementation of Recovery and Resilience plans in five countries and their impact on SMEs, highlights bad practices such as weak consultation processes, limited coordination, and lack of transparency, flexibility and evidence-based decision-making processes. It also points out good practices and recommendations, namely the reduction of red tape, the simplification of access to funding or the digitization of processes, so that future EU-level funds, such as the European Sovereignty Fund that the Commission is preparing, are designed in a way that fully support SMEs.
As a staunch supporter of SMEs, Renew Europe has also presented today its “Position paper for SME Relief Package”, that outlines the key policy lines and proposals that should be addressed in the European Commission's upcoming SMEs Relief Package, the only legislative package of the entire EU mandate specifically focused on SMEs that will (foreseeably) be presented after the summer.
MEP Martina Dlabajová (ANO 2011, Czech Republic), chair of Renew Europe's SME Taskforce; co-chair of the SME Intergroup, and Renew Europe coordinator in the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee, stated:
“Business Days are proof of Renew Europe´s unwavering commitment to the challenges and needs of business in Europe and in particular to SMEs, an essential landmark for European industry and economy. We are here to listen, accompany, understand and be able to legislate according to their priorities and difficulties, especially after the Covid-19 period and the current energy crisis. This collective listening exercise should serve to initiate effective measures aimed at reducing the administrative burden on SMEs, facilitating access to finance and ensuring bills are paid on time, amongst others. The survival and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises is the survival and growth of Europe. Let´s deliver!”
Note to editors
Renew Europe has established a permanent SME Taskforce within the Group to always consider European Commission proposals, legislation and other EU actions through the “SME lens”, as well as prioritising and promoting SMEs in policy work.
Likewise, at Renew Europe initiative, we hold an annual debate in Parliament's plenary: the State of the Union of SMEs, in which our political group calls the Commission and the Council to account on the performance of the more than 25 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU-27.