Lack of awareness, underdeveloped infrastructure, high investment costs as well as skills shortages and mismatches – these are some of the challenges that SMEs are facing when trying to benefit from the digital revolution. The participants of the conference "How to support businesses in the digital age – SMEs go digital" tried to identify potential obstacles and propose solutions to address them in the future. The event took place on 24 October 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
On 30 November 2016, the ECO President, Joost van Iersel, attended a presentation and a discussion of a report on the outcome of the Eurochambers' questionnaire distributed among 50.000 European companies, mostly small- and medium-sized. The meeting was hosted by the Union of Chambers of Turkey.
The proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights published by the European Commission elicited a critical first reaction from the secretaries general of UEAPME, EUROCHAMBRES and CEEP. Véronique Willems, Arnaldo Abruzzini and Valeria Ronzitti participated in the Employers' Group meeting to discuss their organisations' current priorities.
Brexit, the next EU budget and the future of the single market are the core interests of the European employers' organisations. On 14 March 2018, representatives of BusinessEurope, EuroChambres and CEEP presented the priorities of their organisations for 2018 and discussed the issues with the members of the employers' group.
The main SME instruments, in particular two programmes - COSME and the SME Instrument - were the main subject of the exchange of views between the category members and Mr Julien Guerrier, the Director of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).
According to the EESC, the European manufacturing system can only make an effective and competitive transition to a cutting-edge digital and environmentally friendly economy when it is ready for significant investments in innovation. As the main job creators and providers, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) need particular support. The steps planned by the European Commission to facilitate better development of the manufacturing system should therefore be consistently based on real awareness of companies' – especially SMEs' – needs.
"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.
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.
More attention to the needs of SMEs and family businesses, easier access to finance, fewer bureaucratic burdens, simplification of taxation systems and proper coordination to respond to current challenges – these were some of the priorities highlighted by the newly-elected president of UEAPME, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. In order to foster further cooperation and coordinate their common interests, the Employers' Group had the great pleasure of welcoming the UEAPME President, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, and UEAPME Secretary-General, Véronique Willems, to the first Group meeting of 2017 in order to discuss the state of play of SMEs in Europe and the goals and priorities that they were aiming for.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy and have a huge potential to contribute to its development. Acknowledging that, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is actively pushing ....