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Support for SMEs needed to master Corona Crisis

13 March 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 13 March 2020

President Alban Maggiar reacted positively on the COVID-19 crisis measures announced today by the European Commission and hopes that the Finance Ministers quickly adopt them.


The measures include an extensive interpretation of the flexibility for fiscal policy as well as the provision of State aid rules permitting  liquidity support to companies in difficulties. Both together allow Member States to help SMEs with loan guarantees for working capital or by postponing payments of taxes and social contribution. SMEunited also welcomes the proposal to create a Corona Response Investment Fund, which will support financing of SMEs in need.

 "SMEunited is receiving alarming information from national and sectoral members indicating already now a disastrous impact on the economy, especially for crafts and SMEs", wrote President Alban Maggiar in a letter to President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of the European Commission decision on the Corona Crisis Package. 

In his first reaction to today's announced measures, President Maggiar stated that "allowing Member States to use maximum flexibility regarding fiscal rules and extending the possibilities to provide State aid to companies, which are in difficulties due to the current crisis, are necessary steps to reduce the negative impact on real economy." Furthermore, the President asks Finance Ministers to adopt these measures as fast as possible and national governments to use them at national level.

President Maggiar agrees with yesterday's statement of ECB President Christine Lagarde that this crisis needs first and foremost fiscal support provided by national governments, but asks the European Central Bank to stay ready to avoid a new sovereign debt crisis, when Member States act accordingly.

For SMEs significantly impacted by the crisis, the most important measure to be taken are:

(1) Ensuring the liquidity by providing guarantees for working capital and postponing payments of taxes and social contributions,

(2) Income support measures for self-employed and SMEs out of businesses,

(3) Offering partial unemployment schemes from which also SMEs can profit,

(4) Ensuring the functioning of critical public infrastructure,

(5) Keeping supply chain as far open as possible.

Mr Maggiar also welcomes the proposal to create a European Corona Response Investment Fund, which also aims to provide support to SMEs impacted by the crisis. Here, SMEunited suggests to use the already existing channels from the European Fund for Strategic Investments to reach out to SMEs as fast and as targeted as possible.

SMEunited is the association of Crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited represents national cross-sectoral Craft and SME federations, European SME branch organisations and associate members. Combined, it represents more than 12 million enterprises with around 55 million employees across Europe. SMEunited is also a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner. SMEunited was formally known as UEAPME.

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