Fabian Demicoli

European SME Day EuroCommerce calls for 6 SME essentials for growth

In the occasion of the SME Day, EuroCommerce gathered
entrepreneurs from all over Europe and from all walks of commerce (retail,
wholesale, and international trade) to exchange views among themselves and with
the European Commission and Parliament on the major challenges they face in
their daily life. EuroCommerce called on the Commission and the Parliament to
have the 'think small first' principle more enshrined in EU law-making and to
make the regulatory environment more SME-friendly.

"We represent 6 million companies in Europe; 99% of
them are SMEs, and they employ two-thirds of the people working in commerce.
But also large retailers depend on an ecosystem that provides livelihood and
growth opportunities to many small, and often local, suppliers. We therefore
strongly urge the European Institutions to help SMEs recover from the crisis
and be the engine of growth in Europe," said Christian Verschueren,
Director-General of EuroCommerce.

On this occasion, EuroCommerce presented its "six
policy essentials" that would enable SMEs to contribute to an EU growth
agenda. "More than ever, our SMEs need less red tape, better support to
entrepreneurship and innovation, easier access to finance and foreign markets,
and greater flexibility on the labour market", concluded Christian

GRTU's President Paul Abela attended this EuroCommerce
event. Mr Abela intervened saying that in these difficult times banks were
still charging businesses over the ECB interest rate which is not helping
business. Mr Abela was told that the Commission cannot impose but in a time
when banks are demanding bailout they should go a step further and help
businesses by not charging them over the base rate. Mr Abela is pleased that
Maltese banks did not require a bailout but business should be aided by banks.
Mr Abela called on Minister Tonio Fenech during a business breakfast to monitor
the situation and Hon Fenech stated that "interest rates can be slightly lower"
however Government cannot impose on banks to lower them but will monitor the
situation and ask banks to be more sensitive in this regard.

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