Study – Crisis costs for European SMEs – How COVID-19 changed the playing field for European SMEs

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on "Crisis costs for European SMEs – How COVID-19 changed the playing field for European SMEs".

This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract as a result of a negotiated procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract to give interested economic operators the possibility to express their interest to participate as tenderer in the subsequent procurement procedure.

All economic operators established in the European Union, European Economic Area and countries with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, with proven experience in conducting studies on related topics, may express their interest to participate.


Background and purpose

The COVID-19 crisis has threatened the livelihood of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A study by McKinsey & Company in October 2020[1] revealed that more than 50% of surveyed SMEs were worried that they might have to close their business during the next year.

The study aims to make a status quo assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on SMEs with a view to understand how the economic framework and playing field for SMEs changed due to the pandemic and what perspectives SMEs have for the future. An in-depth analysis of selected SME sectors, also taking into account employment consequences, will show the different needs of the sectors and how they can be supported in the years to come.

Based on this analysis, a strategic plan of economic and public policy measures to support SMEs will be defined.


The following methodology requirements should be followed:

  • The analysis in the proposed Member States should be representative of European diversity and preserve geographical balance.
  • The analysis of various SME sectors should show positive and negative impacts of the crisis: which companies have managed to expand their market taking advantage of the crisis and the characteristics that played in their favour, and which companies have failed or gone bankrupt as well as the related causes.

Tasks to be performed

  • To collect and compile updated figures, trends and statistics in order to give a current, fact-based analysis of the situation for SMEs in Europe (including the full economic and employment effects, showing the change of the economic framework for SMEs and their future perspectives) to help understand how the playing field for SMEs has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
  • To highlight the trends (e.g. digitalisation) initiated by the crisis, their positive/negative impacts on SMEs and how these trends need to be addressed in the recovery phase;
  • To define a strategic plan of economic and public policy actions to support SMEs and promote tailored measures for SME sectors based on current, tangible evidence.

Languages/geographical area

The study should be carried out in English and concentrate primarily on Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Poland, Finland, Portugal, Romania, France, and the Netherlands but other Member States can also be considered if duly justified. The sectors to be covered: Manufacturing, construction, innovation & research, tourism, agro-food and retail.

Indicative calendar

  1. Launch of the invitation to tender: July 2021.
  2. Contract award: 3rd quarter 2021.
  3. The final study report is expected within 12 months following the signature of the contract.
  4. Deadline for submission of offers: approximately September 2021.


Expressions of interest to participate or requests for further information should be sent via the following contact form before the deadline indicated below.

Deadline: 15/07/2021 23h59 (CET, Brussels time)


Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest to participate in a negotiated procedure of this type does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The procurement documents will only be provided to the identified candidates, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.


By submitting your contact details, you consent to the EESC processing this personal data in line with this Privacy Statement. To access, change or delete your data at any moment, please contact the data controller by sending an email to studies-eesc.

[1] McKinsey & Company (Dimson, Jonathan/Mladenvo, Zdravko/Sharma, Ruchi/Tadjeddine, Karim). (2020). COVID-19 and European small and medium-size enterprises: How they are weathering the storm. insights/covid-19-and-european-small-and-medium-size-enterprises-how-they-are-weathering-the-storm


Expressions of interest to participate or requests for further information should be sent before 15/07/2021 23h59 (CET, Brussels time) via the following contact form:


Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 10:59