How does
SME Europe

More often than not, this dialogue produces the launch of a new working group or project.

SME Europe of the EPP operates for the rights of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in many areas. The first of our priorities is for our Board, Senators, and Chairs of our working groups to further develop and advise on EU legislation for the SMEs we represent. To achieve this, they look to the expertise of our national SME associations, within their own work circles, and to the experts and members from the small and medium enterprises. This unity and tight cooperation is highly important as

the entrepreneurs are given an early heads up on legal developments through our own team, whilst we receive their own evaluations of the effects this will have on them.

Such a project led in the partnership with SME Connect is

The European SME Business Club

which sets out to achieve a better understanding of the EU and supports SMEs in networking and usage of B2B amongst each other. The main focus of this initiative is not only on Brussels, but also the possible launching of conferences and events in different member states as well as building up an efficient business community and various regional clusters in order to provide a better networking and productive information exchange with political decision makers for SMEs, An additional objective of this project is to encourage financial support programmes to engage with the SMEs.

They often bring their own ideas regarding the obstacles and opportunities offered in SME legislation to the table, some of which are even not so obvious to us. This is because the SMEs we represent are operating on the ground and are engaged daily in commercial activities. In fact,

SMEs have an important mediatory role in today’s society.

As a result, they know the effects brought by legislation on their own businesses better than anyone, therefore we must always integrate their experiences and knowledge for the best results.

We gather information, opinions and positions both locally in Brussels and in the member states

using our communication platforms, but more so by means of our events, in which varying stakeholders from the European Parliament, Commission and other institutional representatives on EU and national levels; as well as associations, academics, and of course our SMEs, interact with each other.

It is during these events that opinions, knowledge and positions are fairly exchanged with the ultimate goal of developing a common solution or at least a better understanding of the different positions, challenges, and visions for the future.

Another of these programmes is

“Friends of SMEs”

which serves as an information platform for programmes, projects, association initiatives, state bodies, businesses and academic institutions. Through the use of events, workshops and conferences, an information exchange is provided on all levels between the aforementioned groups.

A good example of a working group is the all-important

“SME Start-Up”,

which sets out to provide concrete help for the initial phases faced by young founders. The target is to improve legislation in this area whilst suggesting programmes and creating general awareness of the challenges faced by Start-Ups. The working group

“SME Digital Agenda”

on the other hand, has just one main focus, mainly the production of a viable position paper and the creation of a workplace in order to demonstrate the vastly different perspectives of the SMEs to the Commission. A whole chain of events to help achieve this goal have been suggested.

We at SME Europe want to have more of an educational and promotional role in cooperation with the European Union for our SMEs through our mentoring programmes in Brussels. The goal is simply to ensure that manual labourers, retailers and restaurant owners for example, can develop a feel and understanding for Europe. They have the chance through us, not only just to meet representatives from all institutions, but also economic associations, company representatives and many more. If possible, programmes should be arranged to include SMEs from different regions where we could encourage our guests to use this chance to develop business relations and show them that Europe is not just about legislation, but the possibility of barrier free networking throughout the whole of Europe. Pragmatic entrepreneurs need to understand that it’s not just all about legislation here in Brussels, but also concrete and practical chances.

Ivan Stefanec

Member of the European Parliament
President of the SME Europe

Ivan Štefanec (born September 30, 1961 in Považská Bystrica) is a Slovak politician and manager, former Member of the Slovak Parliament and currently Member of the European Parliament. Ivan Štefanec started to work as a researcher and later as a Project Manager at the engineering plant Považské strojárne, Považská Bystrica in 1983. Between years 1992 and 1993 operated as Branch Manager of Ernst & Young CS Consulting and since 1994 his professional career was connected with the company Coca-Cola. He started as Chief Financial Officer and Deputy General Manager and he was successfully running the company Coca-Cola Beverages Slovakia as the General Manager for 5 years. Under his leadership Cola-Cola Beverages Slovakia was awarded with the National Quality Prize 2001. Following this and other accomplishments Ivan Štefanec was appointed the EU Integration Manager of Coca-Cola HBC in Vienna in January 2003. This role, among other responsibilities, incorporated the preparation of the company business for EU Enlargement in all accession countries. Ivan Štefanec was the President of the Business Alliance of Slovakia from its foundation in 2001 until 2005. At the 2014 European Parliament election Ivan Štefanec was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the SDKU-DS and subsequently joined the EPP Group. His priority topics are digital single market, SMEs, employment and red tape reduction. Currently Ivan Štefanec serves as a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia and a substitute in the Committee on Budgets, the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. From 2016 until 2017, Štefanec was a member of the temporary Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector. On November 8, 2018 on SME Europe’s general assembly held in Helsinki Ivan Štefanec was elected President of SME Europe.

Bendt Bendtsen

Member of the European Parliament
President 2015 - 2018

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Is a Danish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Denmark. He is a member of the Conservative People’s Party, part of the European People’s Party.

Bendt Bendtsen served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry (from 2001 to 2008) under Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Minister for Economy and Business Affairs and Minister for Nordic Cooperation (from 2001 to 2008). Bendt Bendtsen was elected as Member of the European Parliament in the 2009 elections. He has since been serving as member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Industry (ITRE)

Nadezhda Neynsky

Ambassador of Bulgaria to Turkey
Member of the European Parliament Ret.
President 2012 - 2015

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Is a Bulgarian politician and is currently the Ambassador from Bulgaria to Turkey. She is a member of the Union of the Democratic Forces, part of the European People’s Party.

Nadezhda Neynsky served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (from 1997 to 2001), Member of the Bulgarian Parliament (from 2001 to 2008) and Member of the European Parliament (from 2009 to 2014) as a member of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG)