Small and medium sized enterprises

Related Theme: Enterprises and Industry

The crucial contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises to securing Europe's economic recovery is already well acknowledged. SMEs form the backbone of the EU economy, with some 21 million small firms making up 98% of EU businesses, and employing 87 million people.

The European Economic and Social Committee is actively pushing the EU institutions and Member States to give more support to this potentially lively and innovative sector.

The EESC has adopted a number of opinions on SMEs. Recently, these have covered social entrepreneurship and social enterprise, the SBA review (2011), access to finance, the COSME programme, SMEs and global opportunities (2012), as well as smart regulation (2013).


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  • Published In: 2014
    4 pages
    Access to EU finance for SMEs - what can we learn from Greece?

    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy. According to Commission estimates, the overall contribution of SMEs to EU-27 value added was more than 57% (EUR 3.4 trillion) in 2012. Although the role of SMEs in the EU economy is crucial and their well being should be a priority for European policymakers, they struggle with access to finance, especially in the countries severely hit by the crisis. The Greek experience can and should be taken as a case study and conclusions drawn on how to improve the system for the future. The publication summarises the discussion on access to finance for SMEs that took place in April 2014 during the extraordinary meeting of the Employers' Group in Kyllini, Greece.

  • Published In: 2014
    12 pages
    10th anniversary of EU enlargement

    In 2004 the European Union experienced its biggest enlargement so far, welcoming 10 new Member States. A decade later, members of the Employers' Group representing employers' organisations from these countries summarise the changes that have taken place thanks to accession to the EU.

  • Published In: 2013
    6 pages
    Presentation Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption

    Completion of the Single Market is one element necessary for the European venture to succeed. The EESC has a key role to play here, for the good of both consumers and business. To this end, the EESC set up a Single Market Observatory (SMO) in 1994, with the support of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. The SMO is made up of 33 members representing European civil society organisations. Its aim is to monitor how the Single Market operates in practice, identify where the problems are and help legislators remedy existing shortcomings.

  • Published In: 2012
    28 pages
    Obstacles to the European Single Market
    After 20 years of existence, the Single Market is still a work in progress. While a number of barriers have been abolished, new ones have appeared. It is therefore important to track developments in this area, take stock of the remaining obstacles and set up a road map for the Single Market to operate smoothly in the interest of all.
  • Published In: 2012
    56 pages
    Taking stock of the recommendations of the European Economic and Social Committee on Single Market policies

    The aim of this document is to highlight the contribution of Europe’s civil society organisations represented at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the Single Market debate. The EESC has been closely following the Single Market from the civil society perspective and set up its Single Market Observatory (SMO) in 1994 to this effect. This summary of the Committee's opinions related to Single Market policies is based on the input from the Monti, Grech and Herzog reports and allows for a global vision of civil society's pluralist, fact-based contribution to shaping Europe's future.


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