#SMEsvote4EU - Why European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Should Vote on May 26?

Editorial by Stefan Moritz, Managing Director of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME

The imminent elections for the European Parliament on May 26th 2019 might seem to many a less important election, something that happens “elsewhere” and not in my backyard. It probably weighs heavily also the fact that the European Parliament is still perceived as the weakest among the European political institutions, composed by the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the Parliament: it does not vote a government, it can’t propose laws and it is less active on ideological issues and much more on very complex aspects, like analysing and reporting on legal proposals in committees, mediating among stakeholders and negotiating with the other two lawmaking institutions.

And what the European Parliament can do for SMEs is even less clear to many.

Last but not least, the European parliamentary elections are still, for 80%of their outcome, determined by national political debates and not by the European political issues at stake. Or worse, some political parties might even reduce the elections to a “in favour of or against Europe” binary choice, which is not really appealing to participate in, neither in one sense nor in the other.

The risk, that many entrepreneurs, their families, friends and employees, stay once again at home on May 26 is very high.

But particularly SMEs, their owners as well as all the people earning their living thanks to them, should think twice before deciding to go fishing or relax at home. The way to the ballots could pay out much more than they would maybe imagine, for several reasons:

1. 70% of all laws that affect the market, financing, the capacity to employ and to grow, as well as the production costs of SMEs are already today defined at European level, and only then translated into national laws.

2. National laws that do not comply with the European treaties, directives or regulations can be changed through sentences of the European Court of Justice, that overviews the coherence between national policies and European agreements. In particular, there are more than 50% of Court of Justice cases in Luxembourg that regard the equal access to the European Single Market embracing all EU-countries, and especially for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

3. Although SMEs represent 99.8% of all registered enterprises, the lobbies of Big Corporations find many open ears in Brussels and Strasbourg. So, when compared to the situation at national level, bigger enterprises are able to influence much more the decision-making than SMEs. Coupled with the fact that 70% of all laws are determined in Brussels and Strasbourg, the impact of this wrong relationship between politics and SMEs is much bigger than on national levels. We need your vote and your voice!

4. The EP can’t vote a government, but it can block the nomination of Commissioners and the President of the European Commission himself, if the member states propose candidates that are not approved by the majority of the 750 Members of European Parliament. That was already put in practice with the Juncker Commission, as well as in single cases even before.

5. The EP can’t propose laws, but it can veto all proposals of the EU Council or/and of the Commission: without the EP no directive or regulation can be approved.

6. The EP is also a place to exchange political views, compare national politics and elaborate viable reforms for the European Union: such a great, transparent and representative think tank beats all private think tanks, sometimes financed by not very transparent “interest groups”, with some of them even financed from outside Europe.

7. The EP has also a decisive role in the definition of the European Union’s budget: in the last edition 2014-2020 this budget had doubled the funds for SMEs, and this pace should be continued in 2021-2027. There are enormous challenges in front of all European SMEs that need this support to be tackled, as for example digitalization and innovation, but also international trade and competitiveness.

8. The questions if either in or out of the Euro, the European Union or other European cooperation structures like Schengen, are questions that makes no sense for SMEs, alike as for workers: only within the European Union the rights, strength and equal treatment of these less strong parts of the economy can be safeguarded. The less our single countries participate to the European Single Market, in the European freedom of movement or in the economic shelter of the Euro, the more SMEs are exposed to a much stronger global competition than within the EU, suffer the even weaker influence of their national states on global level than compared to the EU, and get much worse conditions for exports or imports. One person recently said: in Europe there are small countries and those that know that they are small. None of the EU member states could do it alone, only together we are strong, and only then SMEs can benefit.

9. Many opportunities are available to European SMEs only thanks to the European Union: the quality of training (also thanks to ERASMUS), the relatively open internal markets with reliable standards all over the continent, the financial support for regional development, research, innovation, start-ups, digitalization, mobility of workers, clear rules for investment protection and legal certainty for 500 million people.

10. And in many challenges ahead of us the EU is our best partner: climate crisis, the risks of digitalisation and automation, China’s global expansion, policies of closure as currently the US is waging, wars and political crises in nearby countries, migration - to name the most important ones: especially SMEs need here the solidarity and strength of a united continent that shares 2.000 years of history, similar cultural patterns and of course a common destiny.

What can you do:

- Check out our proposals for better European SME policies, and see which parties in your country put the wealth of SMEs at the top of their agenda: www.european-entrepreneurs-vote-2019.eu (or also https://www.bvmw.de/themen/mittelstand/europawahl-2019/ in German, or http://www.confapi.org/it/cosa-vogliono-le-pmi-europee.html in Italian)

- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and discuss with us.

- Take your decision and

- Go to vote.

We wish to all a great Europe Day 2019!

Stefan Moritz

Managing Director European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME


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