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SME strategy: SMEs lack systemic change in policy making

10 March 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 10 March 2020

In a first reaction to the SME Strategy, SMEunited acknowledges that the strategy develops a very clear picture on the challenges SMEs face, however falls short in creating a gamechanger in policy making.


EU Institutions across all policy domains must take the SME perspective as the basis for drafting measures. The SME envoy should be in the Regulatory Scrutiny Board to safeguard the SME test is applied well. Nevertheless, SMEunited welcomes the Commission is taking steps to implement measures in partnership with Member States and stakeholders. Finally, we welcome the SME envoy will monitor implementation at national and regional level through the European Semester and co-create national implementation plans with the national SME envoys and local business stakeholders.

On policy making at European level, first steps have been made to ensure the SME point of view is the basis for drafting legislation and policy measures. However, the gamechanger guaranteeing the Think Small First principle across all policy domains is still missing. The SME envoy will have a dialogue with the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB), but as it seems will not be part of it, although SMEs are the biggest group applying European legislation every day.

The proposal to co-create national implementation plans for the SME strategy by the European and national SME envoys and local business stakeholders, is a good attempt from the Commission to make a difference for SMEs on the ground.

On the twin transition, SMEunited welcomes the actions put forward with the Digital Innovation Hubs and Sustainability advisers. However, SME organisations ask to cooperate closely with them to build SME capacity and have best practices and instruments from all over Europe shared to tackle the digital and green transformation. The difficulties with late payments unfortunately will not be solved by setting up a monitoring system or alternative dispute resolution. Legislative boundaries are needed, especially with SMEs facing challenging liquidity situation due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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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