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You are here: Home Members European craft and SME employers' organisation SMEs4Europe Campaign: Digitalisation is crucial for SMEs competitiveness

SMEs4Europe Campaign: Digitalisation is crucial for SMEs competitiveness

05 March 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 05 March 2019

Digital transformation is a big challenge for SMEs today. Highly innovative SMEs are faced with regulatory and financial barriers as well as skills shortage that hinder their growth. Traditional companies that are facing the digital transformation process risk losing their competitiveness.


In its campaign for the European Elections, SMEunited asks for a three-pillar approach to facilitate digital transition for SMEs. (1) Europe needs an enabling legal framework. It must be flexible enough, neutral and future-proof for digital front-runners. It must also ensure fairness, transparency and a level-playing field for all companies. (2) Europe has to increase investments in digital skills, its IT infrastructure and cyber security. (3) Europe should support the establishment of a Digital Knowledge Centre allowing SMEs to access accurate information, exchange of best practices, and gain knowhow on support programmes.

"This week SMEunited continues its campaign for the European Election with a focus on SMEs and digitalisation", announced SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. There is a real need for more efforts to facilitate digital transformation of Europe's businesses to improve its competitiveness. "Digitalisation is the biggest challenge ahead for the majority of SMEs", she explained.

MEunited calls for a comprehensive and coherent approach in all Commission initiatives and services. "The legal framework must be flexible enough to allow innovation, as well as technological neutral and future-proof", she stated. "It also needs to ensure fairness, transparency and a level playing field for all companies." In addition, SMEs need equal access to data and measures to improve cyber security.

Ms Rabmer-Koller requested more commitments from the public sector. "Europe needs more investments in digital infrastructure, especially in decentralised areas, and a facilitating environment ensuring the necessary supply of digital skills and financial support."

Moreover, Europe should set its technical standards worldwide and ensure fairness in the relations between companies (e.g. platforms). Ms Rabmer-Koller underlined that "The EU must ensure that its commercial fairness standards and its technical standards be the rule."

Finally, SMEunited and its member organisations want to set up a Digital Knowledge Centre allowing SMEs to exchange knowhow with experts, exchange best practices, develop toolkits and training materials, and to raise awareness on digital business opportunities in general. "However, this can only be realised if we also get support from the European Commission," she concluded.

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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