Alin Mituta: ‘My core belief is that we need to help SMEs by reducing regulatory burden’
SMEs play a vital role in our European economy. The 24 million SMEs in the 27 EU countries generate more than half of the EU’s GDP while employing about 100 million workers. Moreover, the majority of new jobs are created by SMEs.
In these difficult times, we strive for recovery, and in some situations, we struggle for a transformation of the economy, as reconversion and diversification will surely be needed. To be part of this change, SMEs need to be creative and resilient. As a member of the CONT committee, I intend to further the cause of SMEs by working on initiatives within the task force to create more opportunities and to eliminate red tape wherever possible.
Last year in July, Renew Europe launched a position paper on SMEs called “Our commitment to Europe’s SMEs”, in order to take actions to maximize the impact of existing supporting measures, and to Renew Europe’s priorities for SMEs including, among others, the need to cut administrative burdens.
Last December, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which welcomed the Commission’s SME strategy and called to improve the environment for business creation and to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit, including the reduction of administrative burdens on SMEs. According to the resolution, administrative and regulatory burdens hinder the SMEs’ ability to thrive because they lack the necessary resources to meet complex bureaucratic requirements.
In the past, the EU adopted measures that seem to work. For example, in the domain of public procurement, the EU has broadened and facilitated market access, in particular for SMEs, with the reform of the Public Procurement Directives in 2014 and further initiatives. This opened the door for new opportunities and challenges.
But we still have to work on other aspects. For instance, SMEs are more error-prone than other beneficiaries, as ECA reported in 2019. I think there should be a further simplification of tools and guidance for SMEs, so that they impose a minimal burden, especially on start-ups that don’t have the resources and staff to deal with the complexity of funds.
I would also like to mention GDPR. As I pointed out in my report on the discharge of European Data Protection Supervisor in 2019, GDPR may be particularly challenging for SMEs. We should work on initiatives to alleviate the administrative burden on SMEs. A cost evaluation of the implementation of GDPR, by EDPS or the Commission should be done in the near future.
Moreover, I must underline that we should take a twofold approach and look closer at policies targeting SMEs and start-ups, including e-commerce, which shouldn’t provide opportunities for businesses to evade existing rules, lower the protection of workers and consumers, or increase the risk of corporate fraud and criminal activities. Member States should ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of Union law to facilitate the free movement and social protection of workers, as well as the cross-border provision of services.
With my colleagues, I’m looking forward to initiatives for reducing the volume and for improving the quality of EU regulation applicable to SMEs and entrepreneurs. My core belief is that we need to help SMEs by reducing regulatory burden, simplifying VAT rules, improving access to financing and helping them become more resilient to fraud. These are my objectives as a member of the Renew Task Force and I am working with my colleagues to make proper initiatives. It is time that we, as a liberal group, put your money where your mouth is, and to show the European Citizens that SMEs are on top of our agenda and that we strive to make their life easier.
Member of Renew Europe SMEs Task Force
Committee of Budgetary Control