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 "Smart Cities" project is a follow-up to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) own-initiative opinion on Smart cities as a driver of a new European industrial policy, adopted in July 2015.
Within the framework of the project, a delegation of seven EESC members has carried out study visits to six EU cities that have successfully implemented smart project initiatives.