The persentage of newly created jobs in the European Union by Small and Medium Sized Industries (SME’s) is on the decline. At present this amounts to 85%. This information was given by European Commissioner MarianneThyssen when reacting to a statement on the subject by Maltese MEP Alfred Sant during the Monetary and Financial Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels. Thyssen said that SMEs were finding it relatively more difficult and so the EC is concentrating on resolving the problems they have in trying to invest so that they can recruit people.

Alfred Sant told the ECON Committee that 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. He said that 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. Sant asked Thyssen whether this was a situation where what is being proclaimed at European level was being contradicted by the consequences of such proclamations at national level.

Thyssen told Alfred Sant that that one of the problems, that big companies do not necessarily have, is access to funds because the banks are not lending and so SMEs do not have access to the capital market. The European Commissioner said this is one of the indicators which is our part of the ‘Think Small First’ Programme.

Marianne Thyssen is European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

To view Alfred Sant’s and Marianne Thyssen’s remarks please view this link