Dr Angelika Winzig, Member of the European Parliament, joined the EESC's SMEs, Crafts and Family Business Category meeting on 13 November to discuss current priorities and challenges for Europe's SMEs and their competitiveness on a global scale.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers' Group, added:
It is our responsibility to advocate for trade; we cannot take it for granted that people understand what the benefits ...
The event focused on analyzing the information barriers that SMEs face when searching for funds, especially in the case of bank loans, on possible solutions and on support and advisory structures.
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.
While the risk of cyber attacks is growing, most European companies are still unprepared and unaware of the risk. This was highlighted in a recent study commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are the most exposed, as they often cannot afford to invest adequately in cybersecurity. The level of investment in cybersecurity overall is insufficient. Most businesses do not realise its importance until after experiencing a security breach.
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.
EU employers’ organisations call for an overhaul of the Small Business Act (SBA) to better accommodate the needs of Europe’s more than 21 million SMEs, which have created 85 % of new jobs in the past five years.
El marco de financiación participativa de la UE propuesto por la Comisión Europea contribuirá a crear una Unión de los Mercados de Capitales, fomentará la innovación y apoyará a los empresarios y pymes en toda la UE, afirma el Comité Económico y Social Europeo (CESE) en un dictamen aprobado recientemente que apoya de manera clara las propuestas de la Comisión. El marco reglamentario propuesto —un 29.º régimen, que coexistirá con los veintiocho regímenes nacionales— permitirá, en particular a las pequeñas empresas, jóvenes e innovadoras, buscar financiación en todos los Estados miembros de la UE.
Stakeholders stressed the importance of cohesion policy and the need for appropriate and effective funding
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.