The SMEs are the main engines for creating growth and jobs in Europe and the CoR has constantly reminded of the regulatory difficulties facing the SMEs as well as the importance of improving their operational environment.

The rapporteur underlines the persistent need for a coherent, visible and updated European SME policy – oriented towards results and implementation, building upon and strengthening previous initiatives, and mainstreaming the “Think Small First” principle across all government levels and policies. The Small Business Act (SBA) needs to be revised and strengthened and cities and regions should have a stronger role in its implementation, giving the example from the CoR European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) scheme.

The opinion highlights focusing the Better Regulation Agenda and REFIT more strongly on SMEs’ needs, participation in public procurement, SME-friendly VAT and taxation rules, SME access to the Single Market and finance, support from ESIF, innovative approaches to regulation and balancing SME needs with labour, consumer and environmental protection as the key tools to tackle the challenges. The role of clusters in helping small businesses scale up through market testing and analysis, innovation generation, and qualification is also an important element.

Adoption: July 2017

Text of the opinion

SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy - hence, as European politicians it is our responsibility to provide for a framework that allows for SMEs to make best use of our internal market.

Othmar Karas
MEP and President of the SME Intergroup

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