Fabian Demicoli

Small Business Act for Europe– High time for real action

The Small Business Act (SBA) as has been proposed by the European Commission is a further step in the right direction. Europe needs the best possible framework conditions for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). But to get these conditions it is high time that words are matched by action.

Eight years have passed since the Heads of States and Government of the European Union declared that the EU should become a world class environment for SMEs. The truth is that today progress is still very modest, as the Commission itself acknowledges.

Apparently it is very hard to shift a policy making machine that is biased towards large enterprises to a policy making machine that takes due account of the needs of SMEs.

 

The Commission is correct in emphasising that a thorough implementation of the SBA is of primary importance and requires the full commitment of both the Commission and the Member States. Against this background GRTU fully supports the proposed annual implementation reports by Member States and the Commission and the review of progress by Heads of States and Government at every Spring Council.

However, GRTU warns that the raft of measures that the Commission has proposed risks spreading efforts too thin. “We would be in favour of focussing on those targets that are measurable; no vague goals, but concrete actions, e.g. ensuring that SMEs are paid on time both in private and public procurement contracts”, said EuroCommerce Secretary General Xavier R. Durieu.

GRTU believes that a set of maximum 10 targets on which Member States and European Commission should report on an annual basis would work best. Emphasis should be on less burdensome regulation, more legal certainty, better access to finance, better  and simpler access to public procurement and better access to state aid, especially in fields like innovation, energy and environment.

 

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