Fabian Demicoli

Consultation: Multiannual financial framework

 The GRTU has this week participated to a consultation session organised by MEUSAC on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020 presented by the European Commission on 29 June and entitled "A Budget for Europe 2020", which will be decisive for the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy in general but also to determine the possibilities the European Institutions will have to support Crafts and SMEs in Europe.

 

The EU Budget exists to fund activities and projects of common interest to the Member States (MS) such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), regional development, the environment, climate change etc… This also so EU action in these areas would be unified. The commitments are divided under a number of headings:

  • Smart and inclusive growth
  • Sustainable growth: Natural resources
  • Security and citizenship

 

 

Global Europe

  • Administration

 

The total commitment is of 1,025B, funds which are also targeted to help the MS meet the targets set out in the EU 2020 strategy.

GRTU's general assessment of the MFF proposal is that compared with the needs of the SME sector we find it quite positive:

  • Orientation to support the Europe 2020 Strategy;
  • More coherence between the different programmes;
  • It includes a dedicated programme for SMEs (Competitiveness and SMEs);
  • It Includes SMEs as a specific target group for regional policies supported by European Funds.

 

Furthermore, the proposal states that the access to all programmes relevant for SMEs should be facilitated by simplifying rules, reducing costs of participation, accelerating award procedures and providing a "one-stop-shop" to make life easier for beneficiaries of EU funding.

However, the real results from the MFF for Crafts and SMEs in Europe will strongly depend on the specific programmes, which will be elaborated on the base of the framework, and on their concrete implementation. Both will be decisive to assess how much SMEs will profit from the MFF.

The main aspects as regards these questions – which have to be followed-up carefully  are:

  • How much money in the different budget lines will be really dedicated towards Crafts and SMEs?
  • Will the promised simplification really facilitate the up-take of the programmes for smaller companies?
  • Will the representative Craft and SME organisations be involve sufficiently in the elaboration of concrete programmes at all levels in the framework of good partnership governance, notably at regional level?
  • Will the diversity of SMEs be taken into account when the programmes are designed and implemented

The Commission proposal in general goes in the right direction – it "ticks the right boxes", but there is still a long way to go to make these proposals a reality for our Crafts and SMEs.

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