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Enable SMEs to drive Europe's recovery

08 June 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 08 June 2020

At the General Assembly of SMEunited on 5 June, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis discussed the European Recovery Strategy and Recovery Fund with SMEunited members.


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During the debate, the Vice-President received a clear message from SMEs that Europe will only be able to recover from the crisis, if it ensures that viable SMEs survive the confinement measures and are able to re-start investment and create new jobs. Therefore, SMEs need access to finance, clear perspectives as regards the twin transition to a green and digital economy and the development of the Single Market.

SMEunited members welcomed the European Recovery Strategy with its Recovery Fund and the adapted Multiannual Financial Framework. President Alban Maggiar told Mr Dombrovskis the plan is "a bold step in the right direction. It is a strong sign of solidarity combined with the will and the instruments to strengthen the Member States most hit by the crisis and the European Union as a whole." He welcomed that SMEs are at the heart of the strategy. Moreover Mr Maggiar agreed that the recovery should be used to strengthen Europe's economic and political competitiveness and should contribute to make European SMEs more digital and greener.

In order to make the twin transition an engine for the recovery, the representatives of SMEunited members asked to respect the capacity of SMEs to adapt and their reduced investment capacity, due to the corona pandemic. Moreover, they asked for realistic interim targets and appropriate support measures. A reinforcement of SME Policy through a strong and effective SME Strategy is crucial.

The discussion also made clear that liquidity measures alone will not be sufficient for many SMEs to survive. A majority lost more than 80% of turnover during the last months and additional loans will further increase their debt levels. Therefore, the members of SMEunited welcomed the proposal for a Solvency Support Instrument and insisted SMEs have access to it. Additionally, they emphasised the instruments should be adequate for SMEs, such as sub-ordinated loans or silent participation.

SME representatives from all over Europe welcomed the proposal for an enforced rural development fund, which can increase the economic dynamic in less prosperous regions and ensures that companies and people in metropolitan and rural areas alike have a perspective for growth and employment.

Finally, the representatives of SMEunited members underlined that a recovery requires a full functioning of the Single Market. This means  a level playing field for all companies and avoiding distortions. The entrepreneurs insisted that for this single market rules demand an effective implementation and strict enforcement. Fiscal or social dumping must be avoided without hindering the free movement of persons, goods and services. In addition, public procurement should become better accessible for SMEs.

SMEunited, formally known as UEAPME, is the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited is a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions.

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