The EESC welcomes the Commission communication and emphasises the growth potential of crowdfunding in the EU as an alternative source of funding. It also emphasises the dependence of SMEs on bank loans, a situation that will persist despite the existence of alternative sources which are not always easy to access. Therefore Crowdfunding should be explicitly recognised in the laws of the Member States as a new form of patronage.
In its Opinion, the EESC draws attention to significant inefficiencies still existing in both the formulation and implementation of SME policies, warns against a bureaucratic approach still prevalent in EU policies and calls for a visible, coordinated and consistent horizontal policy for SMEs, based on a multiannual action plan. The EESC also proposes that the Commission assess whether the current definition of SMEs corresponds to their heterogeneity, sectoral dynamics, specific features and diversity during the last decade.
The EESC calls on the authorities at all levels to engage in close cooperation with all the stakeholders with a view to drawing up a specific action plan on the future of European retail in the 21st century.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.