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SOTEU: Big ambitions must match with realism

17 September 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 17 September 2020

SMEunited supports the vision and ambitions put forward by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her first State of the European Union Speech. "In order to make them a reality we now urgently need to move to action", says President Maggiar. SMEs expect concrete next steps and realistic time frames to master the adaptation to a fairer, greener and more digital economy.


SMEunited fully agrees with the Commission President on fairness as precondition for a better and more inclusive Europe after the crisis. Therefore, tackling environmental and social dumping as well as more justice in the area of taxation is needed.

SMEunited is ready to start negotiations with the trade unions on a recommendation for minimum wages. "We are convinced that progress in this sensitive area can only be made if competences of social partners and national legislators are respected. European legal actions will not lead to a result", says President Alban Maggiar. "The European Commission could contribute by investing more in the capacity of social partners", he added.

Furthermore, the Green Deal can be realised only if SMEs are able to master the enormous need for innovation and investments. Therefore, the required financial instruments for the necessary investments have to be provided by European and national programmes. Moreover, qualification efforts – upskilling of entrepreneurs and workers – must be taken on in joint effort as well. These are especially valid for the envisaged "Renovation Wave", in which SMEs play a crucial role.

President Maggiar specifically welcomes the Commission took up our request to focus on digital infrastructure in rural areas so that all SMEs can progress in the digital economy. In addition, SMEunited welcomes the action announced to provide access to data for SMEs so they can contribute to the development of the data economy.Finally, SMEunited urges to put in place measures to allow viable businesses to overcome the current crisis and to drive the recovery in Europe. In this context, Mr Maggiar regrets the rejection of the Solvency Support Instrument by the Council agreement. He asks the Commission to ensure that it will be replaced by similar measures supporting the recapitalisation of SMEs, when implementing the European Recovery and Resilience Facility.

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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