Harbour: Proof of the importance of small businesses
Posted, January 16, 2012 @ 19:00
A European Commission study showing that 85 percent of net new jobs in the EU are from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) highlights the imperative role such businesses have in driving our economic recovery, Malcolm Harbour MEP, chairman of the European Parliament's internal market committee, said today.
The survey should act as a shot in the arm for measures being taken at the European level to boost the single market and create new opportunities for SMEs, but more importantly it should act as a wake up call to EU member states who are not yet putting small businesses at the forefront of every action they take.
Last year, the EU reviewed its Small Business Act (SBA) and it published a Single Market Act (SMA) aimed at promoting SMEs and revitalising the single market - particularly for digital services - so that it provides new opportunities for SMEs. The Single Market act was pioneered by Mr Harbour's committee in the parliament.
Mr Harbour, European Conservatives and Reformists group member from the West Midlands (UK), said: "These statistics should focus our minds. Small businesses will act as the engines to pull us out of the economic quagmire. If we stand in their way then we stand in the way of economic growth and employment.
"If the 23 million SMEs were each encouraged to take on one more member of staff then it would end unemployment tomorrow. Our first role should be to create open markets and conditions for innovation, then our second role should be to get out of businesses' way.
"The EU has undertaken a number of initiatives to help small businesses, such as creating a single patent, tighter rules for late payers, and an SME test on all legislation to ensure it will not overburden businesses. The commission has also announced a proposal to exempt micro enterprises from burdensome EU rules. We continue to look at new initiatives and at ways of reducing regulation for SMEs.
"Some national governments still need to do more to encourage small businesses. Only a handful have integrated an 'SME test' into their decision-making and even fewer are promoting best practice to help small businesses access the lucrative procurement market. This study shows how important it is for everyone - from commissioner to consumer - to put small businesses first."