Conclusions of the EU SME Week 2015
As part of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European SME Assembly was organized by the European Commission in Luxembourg, as the culmination of the European SME Week which took place from 18 to 20 November 2015. The EU SME Week, which takes place every year in autumn, is the most important week for EU SMEs and this year the motto of the Assembly was 'Europe Works for SMEs: Forward. Together'. With the overwhelming majority of businesses being SMEs and with the majority of employment coming from small and medium enterprises, their welfare is of strategic interest to the EU. This year the focus has been on ways to develop SME policy and co-create innovative ways of cooperation to ensure effective support and increase competiveness for entrepreneurs, with special focus on women entrepreneurship.
During a number of sessions, some speakers called for increased transparency and simplification at a European level, as well as the establishment of a one-stop shop to facilitate company registrations, as the majority of European entrepreneurs think that the internal market is not working correctly. A number of participants stressed the opportunities that the digital economy brings, noting that productivity increases between 2010 and 2014 were four times higher for companies selling online, when compared with traditional businesses. The other big challenge noted by participants is the absence of information on European rules: the majority of European businesses do not know the them, and a quarter are not aware of the principle of mutual recognition. Nevertheless, Costas Andropoulos, Head of Unit at the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow) of the European Commission, welcomed the fact that "for the first time in six years", European SMEs are starting to hire again.