Sélecteur de langues
2 December 2010
The Small Business Act two years on: businesses call for improved delivery
Two years after the Small Business Act entered into force and shortly before the European Commission review, the European Economic and Social Committee's Employers Group, BUSINESSEUROPE, EUROCHAMBRES and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises held a second yearly event to discuss the implementation of the Act and the way forward. The conference, bringing together EU decision-makers and businesses, identified a number of concrete measures to be taken rapidly by the EU and national policy makers in order to strengthen their efforts to deliver the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA).
European entrepreneurs and business representatives made it clear that current measures have not yet removed the obstacles to SMEs growth, job creation and innovation in Europe.
In their conclusions (see appendix), business representatives outlined ten recommendations in the three priority areas identified by the Council in its December 2008 Small Business Act Action Plan: access to markets, better regulation and access to finance.
Conference participants underscored the need to create a more SME-friendly regulatory environment by carefully assessing the impact of any new regulatory or legislative measures on SMEs. They also stressed that SMEs needed better access to markets, which is still hindered by excessive red tape and the lack of harmonisation in the EU internal market. They also called for initiatives to open up public procurement to SMEs.
Despite recent initiatives taken by the EU, in particular through the European Investment Bank and EU Research Framework Programmes, access to finance remains tricky. The new EU regulatory measures for banks should be defined in a balanced way, so that they do not hinder SMEs access to capital. The potentially significant cumulative effect of the wide range of measures on the table should also be taken into account, said participants in the event.
Participants also called for successful completion of Council negotiations on the European Private Company Statute (SPE), the only legislative proposal from the SBA still pending. The absence of an SPE restricts smaller companies' ability to grow and trade across Europe.
Henri Malosse, President of the EESC Employers' Group, concluded "It is high time that the European Commission replaced its strategies, acts and plans by concrete actions. The 23 million European SMEs would very much welcome a single positive action, like those on public procurement, vocational training, entrepreneurship, taxation and finance".
Supporting SMEs and business in Europe will be one of the key solutions not only to the financial crisis but also in addressing global social and environmental issues: SMEs are crucial to innovation and creativity. They deserve to be supported. While the economic outlook may look more encouraging in large areas of the EU, smaller businesses still encounter many of the bottle-necks and obstacles that the SBA was designed to tackle. Progress has undoubtedly been made by the Commission and in certain member states over the last two years. However, if the green shoots of economic recovery are to be harnessed into a long-term upswing coupled with sustained growth and new jobs, the delivery of the SBA and compliance with its overriding 'think small first' principle must be perceptible throughout the EU.
The Employers' Group (Group I) of the European Economic and Social Committee has 113 members, and is made up of entrepreneurs and representatives of entrepreneur associations working in industry, commerce, services and agriculture in the 27 Member States of the European Union.
Contact: Sabrina Tesoka, 32(0)25469552, email@example.com
Brussels, 2 December 2010
Small Business Act:
In reference to the three priorities identified in the Council’s 2 December 2008 Action Plan for “A Small Business Act for Europe”, BUSINESSEUROPE, EUROCHAMBRES and UEAPME make the following recommendations to policy makers at EU and national level.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO FINANCE
A REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT SUPPORTIVE OF SMEs’ NEEDS
ENHANCE MARKET ACCESS FOR SMEs
BUSINESSEUROPE represents more than 20 million small, medium and large companies. Active in European affairs since 1958, BUSINESSEUROPE Members are 40 central industrial and employers’ federations from 34 countries, working together to achieve growth and competitiveness in Europe. BUSINESSEUROPE is a European Social Partner.
Contact: Peter Vertessy, +32 (0)2 237 65 03, firstname.lastname@example.org
EUROCHAMBRES – The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry represents over 20 million enterprises in Europe – 93% of which are SMEs – through members in 45 countries and a European network of 2000 regional and local Chambers.
Contact: Guendalina Cominotti, +32 (0)2 282 08 66, email@example.com
UEAPME is the employers’ organisation representing exclusively crafts, trades and SMEs from the EU and accession countries at European level. UEAPME has 85 member organisations covering over 12 million enterprises with 55 million employees. UEAPME is a European Social Partner.
Contact: Francesco Longu, +32 (0)496 52 03 29, firstname.lastname@example.org