The fifth SME Assembly took place on 18-20 November in Luxembourg. This well-organised, high-level event brought together some 300 participants from across Europe. Amongst them were SME representatives, high-level EU officials, and representatives of NGOs, academia, media, etc.
"Appropriate finance facilities for businesses are a key prerequisite for economic growth". The 1st European Microfinance Day (EMD) on 19 and 20 Oct 2015 was co-organised by the EESC to raise awareness of microfinance as a tool to fight social exclusion and unemployment in Europe. In the presence of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, the President of the EESC´s ECO Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion, Mr Joost van Iersel, underlined the importance in the EU of strengthening competitiveness, sustainable development and social inclusion.
A debate on challenges and prospects for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the measures for SMEs announced in the State of the Union address and discussed EESC proposals to make business transfers easier amid concern over their growing number.
On 30 March 2017, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the European Commission's proposed directive on business insolvency, which is intended to harmonise preventive restructuring procedures across Europe. While fully supporting the Commission's shift from liquidation to early restructuring in dealing with business insolvency, the EESC proposes a set of measures to help prevent its social damages.
Nothing can escape today's digital revolution. The "internet of things", 3D printing, artificial intelligence, big data, online platforms and the sharing economy are bringing new businesses into the digital arena and create new opportunities for innovative SMEs and start-ups. The digital revolution is bringing about changes in modes of production and patterns of consumption, how we understand the world, and even how we live together as a society.
This hearing will focus on topical questions such as the possible avenues to help MSMEs be well informed and prepared to grasp the opportunities of the transition to climate neutrality, coupling it with the possibilities offered by the digitalisation and hedging the current geopolitical risks. It will also take into consideration the challenges faced by the Belgian companies and the opportunities offered to them if they successfully adjust to the climate neutral and digitalised world.
This joint high-level event focused on topical questions such as the challenges faced by Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to successfully adjust to the climate neutral and digitalised world. It has also analysed the possible avenues to help MSMEs to be well informed and prepared to grasp the opportunities of the transition to climate neutrality, coupling it with the possibilities offered by the digitalisation and hedging the current geopolitical risks.
The EESC organised a hearing with the title: "Recapitalising EU companies. An innovative way towards sustained and inclusive recovery" in order to present the views of relevant stakeholders, including SMEs, on equity funding.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility is moving into its next phase, and the European Semester Group of the EESC is following the process. In this high-level conference we will discuss whether the national recovery and resilience plans will deliver as regards the aim of achieving fair, inclusive, competitive and sustainable growth and cohesion through the new growth strategy – the European Green Deal. Focus will be on the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans, with particular attention on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the just transition towards a green, digital and sustainable European economy. The conclusions of this event will be forwarded to EU institutions and the "EU Recovery Summit" conference in Lisbon on 28 June 2021.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) played a central role in bringing the consensual views of organised civil society in the EU to the attention of policy-makers and contributing to the rapidly evolving economic policy response at European level.
In this regard, we believe that now is the time for the EU institutions to make decisive steps in approving swiftly the new Facility and putting in place the necessary implementation mechanisms at European and national level, so that the hardest hit Member States, citizens and businesses can benefit from the relevant EU funding when they need it most.