Fuelling European Prosperity

Empowering Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Europe’s drive for economic prosperity lies in the hands of entrepreneurs.
Fuelling European Prosperity (Foto: Tobias Koch)
Fuelling European Prosperity (Foto: Tobias Koch)

Europe’s drive for economic prosperity lies in the hands of entrepreneurs. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy. Not only do SMEs create jobs, but they also drive innovation and growth in every corner of our continent. It is high time we turned our admiration into action and provide them with the support they need to thrive. Only then will we be able to continue to build on Europe’s success stories, from small businesses to global market leaders, as was the case with iconic European brands such as Bosch, Vespa or Spotify. Let us not forget that most European economic champions once started out as SMEs.

At the heart of Europe’s economic engine is the Single Market, a powerhouse that has raised GDP per capita across Member States. However, we cannot rest on these achievements. We must break down the remaining barriers, complete the single market for services and ramp up the integration of the energy and communications markets. The EPP Group is committed not only to economic success, but also to creating an environment in which businesses can flourish. The full potential of the single market can only be achieved if it is not stifled by red tape.

To make this vision a reality, we need more than just words, we need concrete steps. It is a good start that the European Commission has taken up our longstanding call for an SME Envoy to represent their interests and concerns. Now it is time for the next step: we need a Commissioner for SMEs with veto power over all policy areas to ensure that entrepreneurial freedom is not jeopardised.

We also have three core demands: Let us introduce an EU Competitiveness Check and establish a European Advisory Competitiveness Board specifically tailored to SMEs, with real powers to influence EU legislation. Let us cut through the red tape, by reducing regulatory burden by a third across all sectors with a bold action plan. Let us ensure that EU legislation remains conducive to entrepreneurial growth by introducing a ‘sunset clause’.

Europe’s businesses deserve modern and efficient legislation that is kept up to date and takes account of all new developments. We need to craft rules that empower, not hinder! It is time to stop entrepreneurs from leaving Europe because of bureaucratic hurdles and to keep companies thriving right here in Europe.

Investment is also key. We must accelerate the integration of EU capital markets to provide SMEs with better access to loans and investment options, especially as we navigate the green and digital transitions. We need to launch an investment plan for European quality jobs and urge Member States to invest more in research and development, as well as education, upskilling and reskilling. Unlocking tomorrow’s potential starts with top-tier education, shaping a highly skilled workforce for the future!

Let us not forget the power of diversity: women make up half of the EU’s population, but only about a third of the EU’s self-employed and start-up owners. We need targeted funding programmes to increase the participation of women-led start-ups, especially in cutting-edge fields like artificial intelligence. Creating a business environment with more women entrepreneurs is crucial for European competitiveness and innovation.

However, it is not just about internal growth. We also need to protect our entrepreneurs from external threats. We need to invest in our core businesses and not let third countries snap up our best innovations, to maintain a fair and competitive business environment.

Europe’s promise to small businesses and entrepreneurship is not just talk: It is the cornerstone of our economic prosperity. By empowering entrepreneurs, streamlining regulations, facilitating cross-border business, fostering innovation, and providing access to funding, we can unlock a future where businesses not only survive but also thrive. Let us harness the full potential of Europe’s entrepreneurial spirit and propel our continent to new heights of prosperity and innovation. The time for action is now.


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