Inaugural speech by President Luca JAHIER at the international conference: 'Towards a more effective Europe 2020: civil society's proposals for boosting social inclusion and competitiveness in Europe', held in Rome on 4 & 5 December 2014.
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.