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Improving the Single Market for SMEs

30 April 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 30 April 2019

SMEs in Europe enjoy the freedoms of the Single Market and recognise its added value for the European Union, an added value that goes beyond boosting the economy. However, the Single Market has been built over several decades, there is therefore still room for improvement to make it deeper and fairer as well as to make it function seamlessly.


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The fragmentation reflected by different rules, non-harmonised standards or gold plating at national level, and deficits as regards enforcement are often in contradiction to real integration.

"This week, SMEunited focuses its campaign for the European elections on a true implementation of the Single Market," announced SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. "To date, the European Single Market is one of the greatest achievements of the European integration process. Millions of businesses and consumers are benefitting on a daily basis from its 'four freedoms' in the largest economy in the world, i.e. the European Union."

As demonstrated by the latest SMEunited "SME Climate Index" for Spring 2019, in times of uncertainty, SMEs count on the EU and internal demand more than ever.

"SMEs in Europe shifted to lower gear due to uncertainty from Brexit and trade conflicts. But the ones relying on internal demand show a more stable development, therefore all burdens and barriers holding back true implementation of the Single Market need to be eliminated," underlined Ms Rabmer-Koller. 80% of internationally active SMEs in the European Union trade with partners from other Member States.

Entrepreneurs must comply with all EU and national legislation. "A timely and correct transposition and enforcement, avoiding unnecessary gold-plating is key in facilitating business operations in the Single Market - a common responsibility of the European Commission and the Member States," she added. Today's companies operate in both the offline and online economy, therefore making the Single Market fit for the digital era includes completing the Digital Single Market.

On the topic of the Geo-blocking regulation that compels entrepreneurs to sell to consumers in another Member State, forgetting that the Guarantees directive in case of lack of conformity obliges the seller – directive in case of lack of conformity – to bare the transportation cost back and forth, she concluded that "now more than ever the 'Think Small First' principle should lead law-making for the Single Market. While carefully considering and examining the combined impact of several regulations on businesses."

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, they represent 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.

SMEunited