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SMEs call for a stronger Europe

20 March 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 20 March 2019

At the Tripartite Social Summit on Growth and Employment, ahead of the European Council, SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller called for a stronger, united and forward looking Europe, truly shaped for SMEs.


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She warned about the Brexit uncertainties and trade conflicts directly affecting SME growth, as confirmed by the SMEunited Barometer for Spring 2019. A more united Europe is crucial for SMEs to remain competitive in the rest of the world. She also asked for fairness and a level playing field in the Single Market. Taking into account the SMEs' major contribution to employment and social cohesion in all European regions, they require that Europe be shaped for their needs and provide the recognition and policies they are entitled to.

"SMEs are strongly concerned about further uncertainties created by Brexit and trade conflicts as these factors have a direct impact on growth slowdown," stated SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller during the Tripartite Social Summit. "SMEs want to avoid a hard Brexit, but not at the cost of everlasting uncertainty. For an extension, it is necessary to have new substantial elements on the table leading to a constructive solution." However, "whatever happens, there should be a period to prepare before a new situation enters into force. SMEs do not have the resources to prepare for different scenarios."

Ms Rabmer-Koller expressed her aspiration for a more united Europe. In particular, she called "for more fairness and a level playing field in the Single Market for all businesses where there exists a balance of the interests of the different stakeholders in the B2B or in the business to consumers relationship."

Moreover, she highlighted the need for a forward looking Europe by recalling "the major and unique SME contribution to employment, economic success and social cohesion throughout all European regions and in particular in rural areas". Moreover, they are the driving force of innovation, securing a competitive and prosperous Europe. She therefore insisted that "a forward looking Europe has to 'act small first' and hence show its added value to SMEs and, more broadly, to the European citizens so that they vote for Europe in the upcoming elections."

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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