The SME Alliance Visits Brussels

President Mario Ohoven of BVMW and European Entrepreneurs traveled to Brussels on 5 December 2017 with a high-caliber delegation from the German Mittelstandsallianz. In the heart of the European capital, they held talks with top-level policymakers.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the EU Commission, welcomed the partner associations in the Berlaymont building. Timmermans is Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations and the Rule of Law of the Juncker Commission.

In his introductory statement, Mario Ohoven pointed out that the entire European economy benefits from the single market and that, for that reason, the unity of Europe must be strengthened again. Brexit should not be a precedent. "Our companies need planning security to invest."

Dr. Marei Strack, CEO of DDIM (German Interim Management Company) said: "Self-employment must be strengthened again! We need legal certainty". Greater regulation, on the other hand, is poison for the economy.

Frans Timmermans emphatically agreed with these points: he saw it as his task to prevent greater regulation for companies and to always check new laws for meaningfulness and their long-term effects.

Rhett-Christian Grammatik from VDAV (Association of German Information and Directory Media) addressed the ePrivacy Regulation. This would have catastrophic and existence-threatening effects on the German telephone directory industry in the current configuration while also limiting the only advertising possibility for many medium-sized companies without own Internet appearance.

Michael Müller from the German Taxi and Car Rental Association (BZP) mentioned the negative effects of driving bans on the industry. Equally problematic is the European general data protection regulation, which represents a bureaucratic monster for the small and medium sized companies.

Frans Timmermans offered a close cooperation with the German SMEs in the important field of Impact Assessment: it is important for his Directorate General to include an analysis the effects on SMEs sourced directly from the basis, the companies concerned. The SME Alliance is the perfect platform for this.

Immediately after the meeting, the delegation was received by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs. In a confident exchange with the partners of the SME Alliance, he spoke about the geo-strategic importance of Europe and the future of the EU in the context of migration and security.

The next highlight of the visit to Brussels followed in the European Parliament, where the delegation was received by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. The S&D MEP Jakob von Weizsäcker led the delegation through the parliament.

The grand finale was a visit to the historic Ballroom Rubinstein of the Hotel Metropole on the occasion of a dinner debate with members of the European Parliament and BVMW and European Entrepreneurs president Mario Ohoven.

Nadja Hirsch, MEP of the FDP said: "Digitalization offers many possibilities. Europe should not be dependent on the US and Asia. Here, the framework conditions must be designed so that European companies can compete with Google, Facebook & Co."

Joachim Starbatty spoke about the predicament of the monetary union. Governments would no longer have access to the instrument of currency appreciation and devaluation - this would have to be offset by cut in costs of the labor market and by fiscal instruments. Therefore, transfers between the euro countries cannot not be avoided.

Rhett-Christian Grammatik, Managing Director of the new partner association in the Mittelstandsallianz summed it up enthusiastically: "A very good event! Many thanks to the team of the Mittelstandsallianz and to the President! "

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