Fabian Demicoli

GRTU DG calls for more effective and accessible funds and a direct approach for SMEs


During this morning's session of
Appuntament ma l-Ewropa organized by the European Parliament Office in Malta a
Public Lecture was delivered by Dr Joanna Drake, Director for SMEs and
Entrepreneurship and Deputy SME Envoy at the European Comission, DG Enterprise
& Industry.

Dr Drake stated that SMEs
have always been at the centre of the political agenda and that is exactly what
their office always strives to do. She mentioned an important report announced
by the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and made public
today, which next week will be handed to all Member States and on which the
Commission will demand a clear commitment by all Member States to inject part
of these funds in the real economy. The report clearly outlines how funds need
to be directed in a way as to increase loans, guarantees and securitization for
SMEs which are those deemed to be at higher risk. It also provides examples of
best practices by Member States of funds are being utilized in such a a manner.

Dr Drake continued stating that we
have today 21 Million SMEs which is less than the 23 Million we were used to. 2
Million have died due to the recession and were not regenerated. Recovery has
started but it is a jobless recovery which is worrying and therefore the
Commission is cautiously optimistic. She said that unfortunately we have taken
things for granted for too long and SMEs have been through so much that the
level of wanting to be entrepreneurs has gone drastically worldwide but
especially in the EU which went down to 30% compared to 50% in the US and 70%
in China. GRTU's Director General Vincent Farrugia said that this comes to no
surprise when we see what enterprises went through these last years everyone
fears to go into entrepreneurship.

The issue of second chance and
bankruptcies is something Dr Drake says that it stands out and that the
Commission intends to take serious action on. She stated the Commission
issues a yearly report on how Member States are faring on the implementation of
the Small Business Act – the Country Specific Fact Sheets. GRTU remarked how
useful such fact sheets are.

GRTU's Director General called on
the commission to give statistics on how much bureaucracy has really been
reduced and how much funds are really going to SMEs. Dr Drake admitted that the
Commission and Parliament ask for such a statistic in relation to funds and it
is very difficult to get a clear picture of how much SMES have benefited, how
much business was created and how much employment was generated.

Mr Farrugia demanded funds that are
more effective and accessible and a more direct approach. He said the
Commission needs to breath down the neck of Member States to ensure funds are
made accessible and the Commission must measure with a formula how affective we
have been. 

 

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