Having SME policy as a horizontal priority is an indispensable way to address numerous, cross-cutting challenges that they are currently facing. Current trends cause bigger challenges for SMEs than for bigger companies. Therefore, it is high time for policy makers to act upon it. This was discussed at the conference "Placing European SMEs at a horizontal priority in post-2020 policy making process". The conference took place on 24 October 2019 in Chania, Greece and was organised by the Employers' Group, Chania's Traders Association and the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
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.
Dr Angelika Winzig, Member of the European Parliament, joined the EESC's SMEs, Crafts and Family Business Category meeting on 13 November to discuss current priorities and challenges for Europe's SMEs and their competitiveness on a global scale.
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.
The benefits of digitalisation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are multiple, allowing them to boost competitiveness, expand market access and improve customer relations. In an information report adopted at its December plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) considers it necessary to support the digital transformation of SMEs with measures adapted to the specific needs of different types of companies.
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.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires more than political commitment, says the European Economic and Social Committee. Increased investment, especially by the private sector, is needed to address current economic, social and environmental challenges. The Committee therefore advises the EU and its Member States to adjust their investment and tax policies to enhance growth prospects, and thereby private sector contributions, to accomplishing the SDGs.
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.