BICA: Small and medium-sized companies need a favorable business environment and easy financing not only because of the coronary crisis

Bureaucracy and complex legislation are still among the leading obstacles to their development in many member states, said Milena Angelova

Industry / Bulgaria
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Source: BICA

Small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU need a favorable business environment and easy access to finance. They need them not only to recover from the economic crisis, but also to be able to drive the development of the European economy by creating jobs and prosperity for citizens. Bureaucracy and complex legislation at both national and European level are still among the leading factors holding back the development of SMEs in many EU Member States. This was stated in her speech by the Secretary General of BICA Dr. Milena Angelova on behalf of employers in the European Economic and Social Committee during the Assembly of SMEs, organized by the EC and the Slovenian Presidency in Portoroz, Slovenia. It was attended by Growth Commissioner Thierry Breton, members of the EU-27 SME Ambassadors network, members of the European Parliament and more than 500 SME representatives from across Europe.

Assembly participants were adamant that many small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU are currently in difficulty, trying to overcome difficulties such as supply chain disruptions, significant labor shortages and inadequate qualifications, declining demand and revenue from customers, rising inflation, driven by an unprecedented rise in electricity and gas prices.

The discussions that took place showed that there is currently an increased demand for small and medium-sized companies for direct financial support and to a lesser extent for financial instruments that provide easy and fast access to bank loans and other sources of financing. "EU funding is key to increasing the potential of SMEs and it is important to plan measures to improve access to them in ongoing dialogue with business organizations and stakeholders. I strongly support the idea of ​​SMEs applying with a one-page form for EU funds, and I hope that it will be implemented in due course. In addition, I propose to consider the creation and development of a network of financial ombudsmen in the Member States to help SMEs successfully apply for and receive funding, "said Dr. Angelova.

The network of financial ombudsmen will not only improve companies' access to funds, but will enable the European Commission to collect and analyze quality data to learn how intermediary banks use financial instruments to reach the companies that need it most. of funds and what are the reasons if they are not granted credit.

According to the Secretary General of BICA, the economic recovery depends to a large extent on how successfully SMEs will adapt and work in the new post-pandemic reality, how they will perceive digitalization and will adapt to the challenges imposed by the Green Deal. According to her, many companies do not have knowledge and understanding of specific climate and environmental policies, including the requirements of all new financial instruments. Dr. Angelova suggested that the next review of the performance of SMEs focus explicitly on the main gaps in their readiness to meet the challenges posed by the transition to climate neutrality and how to better design and provide support measures.

According to Dr. Milena Angelova, special attention should be paid to the problems of labor shortages, which are further exacerbated by the demographic aging of the EU population and skills requirements arising from the digitalization and decarbonisation of economies. According to her, hiring, motivating and retaining valuable human resources is crucial for SMEs and businesses need additional support and clarification on the working mechanisms of ESF + and Erasmus + that can help them.



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