Question: Thank you Madame Chairman. 70% of European SMEs do business only in their national markets. Investment programmes at EU level do not really effect their operating environment certainly not in the short to medium term. What they need is the stimulus of expansion of the national markets over the short term.
Yet fiscal consolidation has drastically limited the room for national governments to push for economic expansion in the margins which would provide the stimulus that SMEs need to grow and provide jobs.

Is this not a situation where what is being proclaimed at European level is being contradicted by the consequences of such proclamations at national level?

Reply by Commissioner Thyssen:

First Mr Sant. I am pleased to say that we do concentrate on SMEs. This Parliament does too, because they have been the engine for growth in recent years. 85% of newly created jobs are created by SMEs, and what we see now is that this is going down. So they are finding it relatively more difficult and so we have to concentrate on resolving the problems they have in trying to invest so that they can recruit people. One of the problems, that big companies don’t necessarily have, is access to finance to funds because the banks are not lending and so SMEs don’t have access to the capital markets. So this is one of the indicators which is part of our “Think Small First” programme.

Reply to all questions by Commissioner Moscovici: (Started by replying directly to another question and continued with a general reply)

On the side of creditor Member States, the surplus has not or not sufficiently declined in reaction to the larger balancing efforts among debtor economies. So what does it reflect? It reflects economic inefficiencies, with a low domestic investment and demand and turning into a wasting potential output to the medium run domestically, with negative spillovers to bonds and so that is the point that this Commission wants to address by promoting efficient investment to support domestic demand, potential growth and it is obviously key priority across the board but especially in greater countries. That is the message that we deliver together with Commissioner Dombrovskis about the draft budgetary plans.