SME Chamber

Vince Farrugia at Launch of European Citizens’ Initiative

GRTU DG and EESC Employers' representative, Vince Farrugia, has this week also participated in the Launch of the European Citizens' Initiative in representation of EESC. In his intervention Mr Farrugia congratulated the EU institutions for this initiative. He said that for this action to be effective we need to involve the largest number of citizens. Vince Farrugia mentioned that from the experience he has of representing SMEs he feels people fail to understand that behind every business there are citizens.


The faces behind the owners of small business in Europe are those of at least half the citizens of the United Europe. There are 23 million SMEs, most of them small businesses, and if we take just a figure of 10 as representing employees and family of owner we are talking of half the EU population, this without taking into consideration others involved. These citizens depend on the success of the European Union and its initiatives. They are people firsts, citizens first, and obstacles to their functioning as citizens in a free Europe are obstacles to their economic activity, to their way of living and to their security as citizens.

The Commission has identified this through the important Citizens Report of 2010 and others, including the important Monti report on the Single Market. Ongoing are a number of institution run initiatives in which I am myself involved as EESC Rapporteur on issues like removal of: Cross Border Tax Obstacles for EU Citizens, Obstacles for the furtherance of E-Procurement, Double Taxation and now also obstacles to Citizens on Inheritance Taxes. I also drafted an important report on Budget Surveillance where I insisted on action to safeguard from budgetary austerity important commitment initiatives.

The system of research by the institutions and work on what the consultations bring to the fore are evident, but we know all too well that this is not good enough, not sufficient to diminish the growing disenchantment of EU Citizens with the EU. That is why the European Citizen's Initiative is so important. Essentially the Commission is saying that "what we do is never good enough" now "you as citizens have the right too take own initiatives. Don't just sit there and criticise but mobilise and throw Initiatives at us backed by a million signatures so you really force us to act the way you want".

"This is a tremendous challenge. It is really our duty as leaders in our communities to accept this challenge" concluded Vince Farrugia. "It is now up to the citizens to act in a concerted form. Not just parading and barricading. But concrete organised initiatives backed by committed citizens."

"The ball now is in the citizens court. The leaders, myself included, are often criticised for not doing enough even though we hardly have time for ourselves. We now must act as leaders to cause our citizens to come forward and help them organise to bring to the fore new initiatives that are really citizens' initiatives"


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