The future Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union asked the EESC to provide their insights on the rethinking of the internal market in light of the acceleration of the Union’s twin transitions towards a green and digital economy and on crafting a European Industrial Strategy that positions industries as the backbone of Europe's economy.
The EESC underlines that increased equity funding for European companies is key and therefore strongly welcomes the Listing Act proposed by the Commission. Bringing family-owned companies to capital markets would open up untapped potential to attract capital for growth. In this context, a multiple-voting rights regime helps families to retain control, making listing more attractive to them, and streamlining the contents of a prospectus would significantly reduce costs and burden for issuers.
EU companies rely excessively on banking financing and are highly indebted. This own-initiative opinion proposes the development of a highly subordinated instrument at EU level that boosts the recapitalisation of EU firms. This would be a secure and easy-to-implement solution for SMEs, that would improve their financial position and promote investment without increasing leverage.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) face challenges in the area of digitalisation and access to artificial intelligence, but this segment can take great advantage of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence.
The main objective of the opinion is to propose concrete measures which can be easily implemented in order to avoid MSMEs being “left behind” from the transition to artificial intelligence. The main issues to be addressed are: the use of new technologies to offer innovative products and services and strengthen Europe’s capacity to invest in disruptive innovations; create closer links in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) between universities and public administration, on the one hand, and businesses, in particular SMEs and micro-enterprises, on the other; support the MSMEs in recruiting and ensuring skills development for their employees to cope with the technological changes brought about by AI; facilitate the access to EU funding.
The EESC strongly supports the goal of redirecting investments in such a way that they contribute to the EU's transition to a sustainable economy but calls for the social partners and civil society to be brought better on board in the design and implementation of sustainable finance. The EU green bond standard has the potential to yield significant economic benefits for both issuers and investors alike and help the green transition.