Renew Europe participates for the second consecutive year in the edition of the European SME Assembly, the most important event for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe, which this time takes place in Bilbao, Spain, from 13 to 15 November 2023. Renew Europe thus consolidates its position as the only political group in the European Parliament that listens to and supports SMEs at this renowned annual event. Ahead of the 2024 European elections, our message is clear: we call for an ambitious SME Empowering Package that complements existing programmes exclusively dedicated to SMEs, as well as the much-needed SME Relief Package, announced by Commissioner Thierry Breton on September 12, 2023.
Our political group is represented by an ad hoc delegation of five Members of the European Parliament, led by MEP Martina Dlabajová, chair of Renew Europe's SME Taskforce. For three days, Renew Europe members will meet with SMEs, entrepreneurs and key governmental, economic and industrial stakeholders from all over Europe to learn about their challenges and needs, as well as to offer them our views and solutions to become more sustainable, digital and resilient and alleviate their difficulties in the current uncertain geopolitical context.
MEP Martina Dlabajová (Czech Republic), head of this Delegation, co-chair of the SME Intergroup, and Renew Europe coordinator in the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee, stated:
“SMEs in Europe are an essential landmark for European industry and economy. We are here to listen, to accompany, to understand and to be able to legislate according to their priorities and difficulties, especially in the current period of polycrisis marked by health, climate, digital, energy and geopolitical conflicts.
As chair of Renew Europe's SME Taskforce, I will propose to the entire European liberal political family to create a permanent body exclusively dedicated to SMEs. We need to protect all that we have been advocating so far, to echo SME’s needs and to accompany them with legislative proposals of high added value, now and after the EU elections. The SMEs’ survival and growth is Europe’s survival and prosperity.”
Renew Europe has made an EU priority to push for a predictable and SME-friendly legislative background aimed at cutting red tape, better access to finance and simplified reporting processes. As a result, the Commission took up some of our proposals in the so-called SME Relief Package, namely the new regulation on combatting late payments, especially by public authorities, the recognition of the role of the SME Envoy, the strict application of the SME Test and the initiatives related to tax simplification. Renew Europe wants to make an extra mile in the form of a new SME Empowering Package for a truly thriving EU SME environment fit to compete at a global stage.
Our proposals range from a Sovereignty Fund with a percentage earmarked fenced for SMEs to a legislative proposal on e-invoicing or an export credit strategy, as well as a Europe-wide business transfer barometer and more widespread use of transition periods for new, burdensome pieces of legislation. All with the aim of proving our unwavering commitment to the more than 25 million SMEs in Europe (99% of all EU enterprises), a key driver for ensuring growth, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion in Europe.
MEP Róża Thun und Hohenstein (Polska 2050, Poland), European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Late Payments Regulation, stated:
“The challenges posed by late payments to SMEs, and particularly to micro-companies, are multifaceted and significantly harm their ability to operate at full capacity. Erratic cash flows can render them financially vulnerable and restrict their ability to grow, affecting their competitiveness, resilience, and ability to innovate.
The Commission has proposed a 30-day payment term for all commercial transactions, a key measure that Renew Europe will assess to make sure it benefits not only the small companies, but also the European economy as a whole. We will take all necessary actions to instil a culture of prompt payments, thus ensuring financial stability for SMEs, which translates into more opportunities for everyone on an economic and social dimension.”
Note to editors
What Renew Europe did for European SMEs: