Today, the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) adopted its opinion on the General Data Protection Regulation. ESBA is concerned by the result of the vote, which included the adoption of some burdensome amendments, in particular with regards to the designation of a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
While some of the amendments that were adopted could be beneficial for SMEs, such as the new system to determine administrative sanctions, small businesses could be hit hard if the IMCO version of the article on designating a DPO is carried by the lead Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The IMCO vote has resulted in the removal of an exemption for SMEs regarding the hiring of a DPO, and would at the same time bar groups of SMEs from jointly hiring a single DPO.
ESBA President David Caro said:
''ESBA has long argued for a clear and simple set of rules on data protection, to spur innovation and help build consumers' confidence in the Digital Single Market. While a number of elements in the IMCO opinion on the new General Data Protection Regulation may be a step in the right direction, having to hire or train a Data Protection Officer will result in significant administrative and financial burdens for small businesses. They will be forced to spend their money on compliance and red tape instead of investing in innovation and growth. This is why ESBA wants to base the exemption on whether data processing is the company's core business; this would place the obligation to hire a DPO only where it belongs. Especially in the current economic climate, the Institutions should be concerned with cutting red tape for businesses, not adding to their burdens. ESBA urges the European Parliament to seriously consider the ramifications of the provisions suggested by the IMCO Committee for Europe's already struggling small businesses.''
- ENDS -
Notes to editor
European Small Business Alliance (ESBA)
Founded in 1998 by eight independent national small business associations, The European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities. ESBA also works towards the development of strong independent advocacy and benefits groups in European countries. ESBA's new website, which provides an innovative approach to communication amongst business organizations, reflects these three main fields of activity.
Today, ESBA is one of the largest organisations based on voluntary membership in Europe. Through its direct membership, associate membership and cooperation agreements, the Alliance now represents over one million small businesses and covers 36 European countries. Increased support and recognition, internally and externally, however will only be achieved through tangible results. Through implementation of its 'Vision 2020' and the corresponding business plan, this is what ESBA is constantly striving to achieve on behalf of its members and SMEs in Europe.
EU Small Business Profile:
- 99.8 per cent of all EU companies are SMEs
- 92.2 per cent are micro businesses
- 6.5 per cent are small businesses
- 1.1 per cent are medium-sized businesses
- 0.2 per cent are large businesses
- SMEs provide 67.4 per cent of all private sector jobs
Source: Annual Report on small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU 2011/2012. Report by Ecorys Macro & Sector Policies at the request of the European Commission, 2012
Challenges for Small Businesses in Europe:
- Administrative and regulatory burdens
- Access to finance
- Lack of skills
- Access to public procurement contracts
- Unfair/too strong competition
- Labour law
- Access to Single Market
- Access to EU programmes
- Late payments
- Access to international markets
- Access to information and advice
- Instability of world economy/ energy costs
- SME definition