Press European Parliament calls for concrete action for SMEs

News | 08-06-2021 in Agence Europe

MEPs, mostly from the right and many from the German delegation, called on the European Commission to take action to reduce barriers and red tape for small and medium-sized enterprises, during a plenary session debate on the evening of Monday 7 June.

The EPP, which insisted on adding this item to the agenda, was particularly critical of the European Commission. The chairman of the Industry and Research Committee (ITRE), Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, on behalf of the EPP group, called for more ambition in the recently updated industrial strategy (see EUROPE B12711A13). He also criticised the appointment of the new SME Envoy, Vazil Hudák (see EUROPE B12730A13).

Jens Gieseke (EPP, Germany) was particularly outspoken on this point, criticising the fact that Mr Hudák, a few days after his appointment as SME Envoy, had agreed to become special adviser to the Georgian Prime Minister on foreign investment issues. 

Many MEPs from the EPP, ECR, and ID groups have called for fewer rules and less red tape to allow SMEs to breathe and regain their footing after being hit hard by the restrictive measures linked to the pandemic.

For example, liberal and right-wing parliamentarians have called for a real implementation of the ‘one in, one out’ principle. Maria da Graça Carvalho (EPP, Portugal) called for a 30% reduction in red tape related to EU standards.

Some, such as Paolo Borchia (ID, Itay), questioned environmental standards which he said put too much of a burden on SMEs. Eugen Jurzyca (ECR, Slovakia) proposed the implementation of a sunset clause for standards that are deemed unnecessary: after a certain period of time, the standards would no longer be in force.

On the contrary, on the left, if not in the social democratic ranks, the ‘one in, one out’ principle has been criticised. Henrike Hahn (Greens/EFA, Germany), for example, warned against making the principle automatic.

In general, MEPs called for a real implementation of the ‘SME test’ principle in any new legislative proposal to avoid new rules that are not suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises.

For his part, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, who represented the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, assured that the SME Envoy and the associated network were fully operational. He also assured that the European Commission was working to reduce the regulatory burden in line with the SME strategy presented last year (see EUROPE B12431A11)(Original version in French by Pascal Hansens)

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