Eurochambres position on the SME Relief Package
Eurochambres remarks the need for concrete actions in support of European businesses to cushion the impact of recent economic headwinds. The SME Relief Package must include implementable and effective measures to tackle the urgent need for affordable and secure energy supplies, provide financial stability, and provide breathing regulatory space. Lighter administrative burden and reporting obligations are essential and must not jeopardise the long-term objectives of a competitive business environment.
The SMEs of Europe have been facing difficult times in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty, restrictions forced many businesses to temporarily close down, while several sectors were affected by supply-chain shortages. After the brief recovery period that followed the pandemic, the world economy and SMEs are now facing new challenges: inflation, skyrocketing energy prices, and supply disruptions – all exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
As indicated by the results of the 30th annual Eurochambres Economic Survey 2023, some of the highlighted challenges are access to affordable energy and raw materials and a shortage of skilled workers.
Eurochambres welcomes the announcement of the SME Relief Package by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her State of the Union speech. While the revision of the Late Payment Directive is a good start, further measures are needed to relieve the burden on small and medium-sized enterprises and to support them in the twin transition.
We would like to point out below those areas of intervention which, from the SME’s point of view, have a particularly detrimental effect on SMEs and propose concrete solutions:
- Reinforce the application of the SME Test and the Better Regulation agenda
- Reduce reporting obligations for companies
- Facilitate access to finance
- Put SMEs at the heart of industrial strategies and discussions
- Ensure a level playing field for SMEs
- Enhance access to green and digital skills
The Package should be aligned with the objectives of the Communication on the “Long-term competitiveness of the EU looking beyond 2030” and the proposed KPIs. In this sense, also the SME Relief Package should foresee a clear KPI approach for short-term objectives, to keep track of the advancement and monitor the results according to defined key economic indicators.
The aim to increase Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity, and economic and technological sovereignty can be achieved with a comprehensive, cross-cutting approach that addresses the needs of all European SMEs.