The publication is a summary of the conference "Does the EU encourage private sector investment" that took place on 11 May 2017 in Valletta, Malta. The conference was jointly organised by the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee and all major Maltese employers' organisations: Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Malta Employers' Association (MEA), Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU).
Fabrizio Cafaggi, European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)
SMEs are the backbone of the EU economy and have been placed in the focus of European policy following the adoption of the Small Business Act in 2008. This study makes a comprehensive overview of EU support initiatives for SMEs in the period 2007-2015 with the aim to assess the effectiveness of EU SME policies – both in terms of their formulation and implementation.
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.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for governance improvements in the internal market with a view to removing bureaucratic hurdles for business. Its conclusion is that the European Commission, although active in cutting red tape in EU legislation, is not intervening yet in the case of gold-plating, which is over-compliance at the national/regional/local level. A key problem with gold-plating is precisely its tendency to overlap across multiple layers of competence. Gold-plating does happen and in certain cases undermines European competitiveness.