Improving the effectiveness of EU policies for SMEs (own-initiative opinion) - Related Opinions
This opinion will assess the chances and challenges that SMEs face due to the green transition and will call the EU and the Member States to provide them with a favourable business environment, proper funding and support measures.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) face challenges in the area of digitalisation and access to artificial intelligence, but this segment can take great advantage of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence.
The main objective of the opinion is to propose concrete measures which can be easily implemented in order to avoid MSMEs being “left behind” from the transition to artificial intelligence. The main issues to be addressed are: the use of new technologies to offer innovative products and services and strengthen Europe’s capacity to invest in disruptive innovations; create closer links in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) between universities and public administration, on the one hand, and businesses, in particular SMEs and micro-enterprises, on the other; support the MSMEs in recruiting and ensuring skills development for their employees to cope with the technological changes brought about by AI; facilitate the access to EU funding.
Micro enterprises and SMEs (MSME) in all fields need good conditions to survive the health and economic crisis and unlock their potential so that they can grow and create jobs. This opinion examines alternatives to address the administrative ("paper tax") burden on MSMEs, particularly in view of current transparency and disclosure measures to achieve the EU's social and environmental objectives.
The liberal professions are already very successful in using digital and artificial intelligence applications for the benefit of their clients, and are at the forefront of their technological development. They must continue to be more closely enlisted in the development and validation process in future in order to ensure applications are usable in practice and effective. The liberal professions need to update the content of training in order to ensure their own IT and digital skills and those of their employees are of the highest possible quality standard. The creation of new professions made possible by digitalisation should be encouraged, on the basis of the criteria and principles set out in the Rome Manifesto.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European businesses can lead the way as we enter this new age, as they has done in the past.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity. Based on the new SME Strategy, the EU will support SMEs by:
- encouraging innovation through new funding and digital innovation hubs as part of the sustainable and digital transitions;
- cutting red tape by reducing barriers within the Single Market and opening up access to finance;
- allowing better access to finance by setting up an SME Initial Public Offering Fund (with investments channelled through a new private-public fund) and the ESCALAR initiative (a mechanism to boost the size of venture capital funds and attract more private investment).
This own-initiative opinion refers to what a comprehensive approach to industrial policy should include, in order to reposition European production of goods and services in the global context, on the basis of an eco-social open market model that responds to the tradition and the future of the EU.
This opinion aims to identify the barriers, key success factors and solutions for creating a truly innovative business climate to capture the solutions provided by new economic models.
The EESC believes that the current proposal, although a step in the right direction, is not enough to tackle the existing barriers on the SME Growth Markets.
It stands by its previous opinions that the low level of communication and bureaucratic approaches are significant barriers and much more effort must be put into overcoming these obstacles.
Communication from Brussels should always target the bottom of the chain – the SMEs themselves. The EESC also advises the European Commission to look into the possibility of attracting institutional investors, such as private pension funds, to invest in these SME Growth Markets.
The Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU has requested the EESC to prepare an exploratory opinion on how to best promote SMEs in Europe with a special focus on a horizontal legislative SME approach and respect of the SBA's "think small first".