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.
Single market programme - Related Opinions
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).
The EESC supports the Commission's 'Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules' and endorses the Communication on Identifying and tackling barriers to the single market.
The EESC believes that the insufficient or inadequate application of EU rules has been the Achilles heel of EU law and that therefore many instances of fraud and illegal behaviour have not been dealt with. It urges the Commission to include in the action plan a clearly defined role for civil society actors, entrepreneurs, workers and consumers.
The annual Union work programme for European standardisation for 2020 identifies priorities for European standardisation. The EESC agrees with the Commission that standardisation is crucial to the strategy for the single market and that it should be constantly updated. Moreover, the EESC considers that there is an urgent need to modernise the European standardisation system to meet global challenges with an innovative process of cooperation.
This exploratory opinion of the incoming Croatian Presidency should concentrate on the question, how the achievements and advantages of the Single Market could be better presented to the citizens and businesses in order to ensure their support in further efforts towards developing a comprehensive and long-term Single Market strategy for the future.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's strong message on reinforcing the Single Market and the need for commitment from all Member States and citizens. The EESC calls for a Single Market that must be perceived as an opportunity to reassert European values, fundamental rights and duties to achieve progress and welfare for all Member States and citizens. Values like liberty, economic growth, democracy, peace, science and innovation, political stability, consumers and social rights must be present in citizens' mindset as a result of a process that started 60 years ago.
Europeans need more (and better) Europe. The powers and financial resources currently allocated to the EU have been increasingly misaligned with the concerns and expectations of Europeans. The EESC, in accordance with the European Parliament's position, therefore proposes that the expenditure and revenue figure reach 1.3% of GNI. The proposed level of commitments of 1.11% of the EU's GNI is too modest to credibly deliver on the political agenda of the EU.
The EESC recognises the high European added value of the programmes where the MFF 2021-2027 concentrates the main increases in expenditure. However, the Committee questions the fact that these increases are made at the cost of strong cuts in cohesion policy (-10%) and the Common Agricultural Policy – CAP (-15%).
While supporting the pilot project to set up a financial expertise centre for consumers and end-users of financial services, the EESC feels it would be useful to call for a number of conditions to be met: legitimacy, financial independence, transparency and accountability, public visibility, as well as balance between financial sector professionals and users.