«I am delighted to, once again, be associated with London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report. This annual report accurately illustrates the importance of small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) for economic growth and high-quality job creation through entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. Remarkably, this innovative, impactful growth is spread across the EU, across industrial sectors, and across business models and ownership structures.
Representing Asturias, a region of Spain where small businesses are thriving, I am always proud to highlight the significance of SMEs in Europe – the sector makes up 99% of all EU businesses, is responsible for 90 million jobs, and collectively adds 60% in value to the Spanish economy.
However, we must not forget that SMEs are far from homogenous and therefore we have to ensure that the macroeconomic and sectoral policies take this diversity into consideration. Given the variety of business models and ownership structures throughout SMEs in Europe, it is imperative that we establish the mechanisms that enable those businesses to understand which alternative funding opportunities are available and how to reach them.
This is a central aim of the Capital Markets Union project and the recent InvestEU programme, launched by the European Commission. To address concerns that Europe remains overly reliant on bank finance, we want to encourage SMEs to use a wider range of funding sources by reducing or eliminating obstacles to cross-border investment and by simplifying and streamlining investment support.
The capacity for innovation, growth and job creation of SMEs knows no bounds, and if we fulfil our goals, and manage to implement our ideas across the whole of the EU, the real economy in Europe will flourish by unleashing growth, improving the level of employment and, therefore, the wellbeing of all Europeans.
There are no doubts in my mind that we, MEPs, have the utmost responsibility for making this happen.»