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Parliamentary questions
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7 May 2020
Question for written answer E-002838/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Herbert Dorfmann (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Adjustment of the criteria from the 2003 uniform definition of SMEs in the light of the COVID-19 crisis

SMEs are particularly hard hit economically by the COVID-19 crisis. It is important that funding and other facilities - tax breaks, funding guarantees, simplified bureaucratic procedures, etc. - should be provided to support SMEs. Companies that meet the criteria from the uniform definition of SMEs set out in Directive 2003/361/EC are entitled to these facilities.

However, different national accounting standards are causing serious distortions of competition between the EU Member States. As a result, companies in one Member State are eligible for aid, while in another Member State a company of the same size and with the same structure is not. A construction company in Italy must, for instance, show all uncompleted orders on the assets side of the balance sheet without being allowed to deduct the payments on account on the liabilities side. This leads to high balance sheet totals that exceed the requirements of the uniform definition of SMEs and make it impossible for many companies to qualify for the support measures for SMEs.

In view of the above, is the Commission considering updating the SME definition so that:

1. an adjustment to inflation is carried out and the criteria from 2003 are adjusted to the current situation?

2. the numerical values of the 2003 criteria are temporarily increased in order to compensate for factors distorting competition and to give companies a realistic possibility of taking advantage of the support measures for SMEs that they currently need so urgently?

Original language of question: DE
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