After the financial crisis, it became clear that the fragmented environment in the EU made it difficult to deal decisively and effectively with problems, particularly in the financial system. A common and cross-border approach became essential/were needed. The challenge was to make the financial institutions and markets more stable, competitive, safe and resilient. From that perspective, the plans for a fully-fledged banking union and a capital markets union were the right response.
"Achieving sustainable growth in a competitive world is challenging. The challenge is even greater for the European Union, as the Old Continent faces a severe competitiveness deficit. Without entering into a health review, that could be delivered at a further stage, of each of the 28 Member States, the ambition of this study is to draw-up a comprehensive picture of EU economic growth.
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.