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The future of retail in city-centres

Exchange of best practices, sufficient funding, minimisation of red tape – what is needed to revitalise and modernise small retailers, was discussed at the EESC's SME, Crafts and Family Business Category meeting. Business associations and a representative of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (European Commission) met with members of the EESC's SME category on 26 February. The aim of the discussion was to examine the outcomes of the study on The future of retail in city-centres and the priorities of European SMEs in retail.


Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires more than political commitment, says the European Economic and Social Committee. Increased investment, especially by the private sector, is needed to address current economic, social and environmental challenges. The Committee therefore advises the EU and its Member States to adjust their investment and tax policies to enhance growth prospects, and thereby private sector contributions, to accomplishing the SDGs.


La digitalización ofrece múltiples beneficios a las pequeñas y medianas empresas (pymes), ya que les permite impulsar su competitividad, ampliar su acceso al mercado y mejorar las relaciones con sus clientes. En un Documento informativo aprobado en su pleno de diciembre, el Comité Económico y Social Europeo (CESE) considera necesario apoyar la transformación digital de las pymes con medidas adaptadas a las necesidades específicas de los distintos tipos de empresas.


Having SME policy as a horizontal priority is an indispensable way to address numerous, cross-cutting challenges that they are currently facing. Current trends cause bigger challenges for SMEs than for bigger companies. Therefore, it is high time for policy makers to act upon it. This was discussed at the conference "Placing European SMEs at a horizontal priority in post-2020 policy making process". The conference took place on 24 October 2019 in Chania, Greece and was organised by the Employers' Group, Chania's Traders Association and the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.


Según el CESE, el sector manufacturero europeo solo podrá realizar una transición eficaz y competitiva hacia una economía digital de vanguardia y respetuosa con el medio ambiente cuando esté preparado para llevar a cabo considerables inversiones en innovación. Como principales creadoras y proveedoras de empleo, las pequeñas y medianas empresas precisan de un apoyo particular. Así pues, las medidas previstas por la Comisión Europea para facilitar un mejor desarrollo del sector manufacturero deberían basarse de modo sistemático en una verdadera concienciación acerca de las necesidades que presentan las empresas y, en especial, las pymes.


A fair, competitive and sustainable business environment that encourages enterprises to grow innovate, invest and trade – this is what representatives of the European employers ask from the next European Commission and Member States. The participants of the European Entrepreneurship Forum taking place in Bucharest agreed that it is time for a political recognition of SMEs – shifting from "think small first" approach to "act small first" principle.

VAT tax reform

A new VAT system for taxing trade between Member States must tap its full potential and limit any possible negative effects for the single market, says the European Economic and Social Committee in its recently adopted opinion on a proposal presented by the European Commission. Greater collaboration between national authorities and extensive communication by the Commission will be key to its successful implementation. Clarifications are needed on some proposed concepts and criteria and a common system for goods and services must follow as soon as possible.