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 Full text 
Verbatim report of proceedings
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Wednesday, 13 September 2023 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

SME Relief Package (debate)

  Henna Virkkunen (PPE). – Mr President, Commissioner, colleagues, small and medium—sized enterprises represent 99% of Europe’s businesses. They employ over 100 million people across Europe and produce nearly half of Europe’s GDP. The last few years have not been easy, and SMEs have faced many crises. They need our support.

I would like to thank the Commission for preparing this SME relief package. It contains many important things, such as improving the current regulatory environment for SMEs. Of course, the package comes very late.

In fact, in the PPE we have been urging the Commission to fulfil its promises to SMEs for years about appointing an SME envoy and following the ‘one in, one out’ principle.

I am delighted that President Ursula von der Leyen earlier today in her State of the European Union speech was underlining the importance of SMEs to our economy, innovation and competitiveness, and committed to put promises into practice because Europe needs a regulatory framework that encourages investments and innovations in Europe.

We have to cut red tape from our industries and especially from our SMEs, because small companies do not have capacity to cope with complex administration. It costs EUR 1 per employee for a big company to fulfil EU regulations, but EUR 10 for a small company. It’s crucial for them that we cut this and reduce the administrative burden for them.

So I am welcoming the Commission’s new initiative to reduce reporting obligations at European level by 25% for our SMEs and add a competitiveness check to all our new pieces of legislation. Now it is time to move from promises to actions.

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