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SMEs can make Europe stronger - SMEunited kicks off information campaign ahead of European Elections

26 February 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 26 February 2019

The European Union is at a crossroad. The upcoming elections of the European Parliament and the decision about the next European Commission will be decisive, not only for Europe, but also for SMEs.


Today, SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller announced that SMEunited and its member organisations will use the time ahead of the European elections in May to put Crafts and SMEs at the centre of the European policy agenda. First of all, SMEunited will put forward the important reasons explaining why SMEs are so crucial to Europe's economy and society. Secondly, SMEunited wants to make European politicians, and specifically candidates for the European Parliament, aware of the challenges and concerns of the 24 Million SMEs in Europe. Finally, with member organisations, SMEunited wants to show SMEs why Europe is important for them and why they should vote for Europe. The campaign will be based on the SMEunited Memorandum for the European elections.

SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller focused on how to better involve SMEs and their representatives in European policy-making to ensure that the reality of SMEs is taken into account. "SMEs are the backbone of the economy and the fabric of society, crucial for providing services and local products for the daily life of Europeans," she underlined. "SMEs play a decisive role for social stability at local and regional level and for the European Social Welfare Model in general".

"SME policy starts with applying the 'Think Small First' approach in real policy making", said Ms Rabmer-Koller. "Only if the reality of the more than 20 million micro enterprises, with less than 10 employees, are taken into account when new rules or programmes are designed, can unnecessary and unjustified bureaucratic burdens and compliance costs be avoided", she continued.

In order to allow politicians to better understand the reality of SMEs, "consultations and data collection for impact assessments should be planned together with SME representatives to ensure the process gathers the necessary information", she requested.

SMEs rely on an appropriate voice at political level and need strong and representative SME organisations to speak up for them.

Therefore, SMEunited asks for support to capacity building for Craft and SME organisations where needed.

"Europe can only become a better place for SMEs if politicians not only talk about the importance of SMEs, but start acting accordingly," summarised Ms Rabmer-Koller regarding the SMEs' expectations towards politicians.

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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