ALDE launches campaign to boost SMEs
February 29 2012
The Liberal and Democrat (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament is stepping up the pressure on EU Member States and the Commission to boost successful entrepreneurship in Europe and further improve the framework conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ahead of the Spring European Council dedicated to growth initiatives and competitiveness.
Today, ALDE is officially launching its initiative and manifesto to boost the approximately 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which make up to 99% of all businesses and provide two-thirds of all private sector jobs in the EU.
Commenting ahead of the event, ALDE MEP Jürgen Creutzmann (FDP, Germany), who initiated the ALDE campaign aimed at boosting SMEs across Europe, said:
''It is encouraging to see that Ministers and indeed the Commission are waking up to the fact that SMEs need a simpler regulatory environment to operate efficiently and effectively across the EU. But much remains to be done to reduce bureaucracy, simplify access to financial instruments and open up new markets for SMEs. ALDE has identified 22 concrete measures that will speed up this process and we are committed to pushing both the Commission and national Governments to move them along as a matter of urgency.''
ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt (Open VLD, Belgium) added:
''Small businesses are the main driving force for economic growth, innovation, employment and social integration. That's why we must ensure SMEs are fully taken into consideration in all laws we pass and critically we must encourage banks to provide the necessary start-up capital..The severity of the current economic climate means that we must redouble our efforts to stimulate opportunities for growth.''
Gerhard Huemer, Economic and Fiscal Policy Director at UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, commented:
''The vast majority of the legislation affecting SMEs comes from Brussels nowadays. That is why we welcome the campaign launched by the ALDE Group, and we hope that it will contribute towards better lawmaking for SMEs in the EU. The concrete measures in the ALDE SME Manifesto are spot on: red tape reduction, access to the single market and access to finance top the list of our members' concerns.''
Patrick Gibbels from the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) said:
''ESBA wholeheartedly welcomes the ALDE group's campaign to boost growth and local jobs. The phrase 'SMEs are the backbone of the economy' has become standard issue within the institutions' rhetoric, yet far too little is still being done in practice. The European Commission praises small companies as Europe's number one employer, it is time to act accordingly by improving SMEs' access to finance and, most importantly, by stopping to impose regulatory and administrative burdens on small companies.''
Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary General of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES), added:
''It is clear from the Chamber network's daily contact with SMEs across Europe that the economic crisis is hitting them hard. Unfortunately, many policy makers continue to acknowledge the economic and social importance of SMEs in one meeting and impose burdens on them in the next. This is why EUROCHAMBRES welcomes the unequivocal message of ALDE's 'Boost SMEs' campaign and endorses the concrete measures to cut red tape, support cross-border trade and facilitate access to finance.''
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