Strasbourg comment: Supporting enterprise

In order to address unemployment levels in Europe we need to look at new innovative ways in which the EU can contribute to creating an environment that supports businesses and gives them the confidence to invest and grow, writes Anthea McIntyre

By Anthea McIntyre

16 Apr 2014

The roots of this report are based on the fact that SMEs and micro-enterprises currently provide 90 million jobs in the private sector in the EU.

The report focuses on a number of areas, including starting a business, on which the cost and complexity of starting up a business must be reduced. On skills, in order to compete and succeed globally, we need a workforce with the abilities the market needs. It is also concerning that by 2015 the shortage of ICT personnel will rise to between 384,000 and 700,000.

On entrepreneurship, it is troubling that the number of EU citizens who want to be self-employed has dropped from 45 per cent to 37 per cent in the last three years. We must recognise that some businesses fail, but those with the courage and vision to start them will have learned from the experience and should not be written off.

On market access, our SMEs have huge potential to compete in the global market and attention should be given to investigate how their internationalisation can be further developed. Also, new forms of finance, such as peer-to-peer lending, present great opportunities for businesses and regulation must be easy to understand and easy to comply with.

Along with colleagues from across the political spectrum, I have tabled a plenary amendment which highlights the recent trend of companies returning production and services to Europe and the opportunities this brings for job creation.

Our economies have a unique opportunity to accelerate this trend of re-shoring jobs and the member states, together with the commission, must take concrete steps to help businesses capitalise on the opportunities offered by re-shoring.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of a competitive Europe in a world of fast growing economies. It is exciting, inspiring and challenging to set up your own business, to contribute to the economy and to provide jobs. This I know from my own experience of running a small business for over 20 years.


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