How does
SME Europe

We are a strong voice for Europe's SMEs of all kinds.

SME Europe of the EPP operates for the rights of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in most areas. The first of our priorities is for our Board, the Senators, and Chairs of our Working Groups to further develop and advise on EU legislation for SMEs throughout Europe. To achieve this, we rely on the expertise of our national SME associations and on the experts operating in a variety of sectors. This unity and close collaboration is most important to us. 

Entrepreneurs are given an early heads up on legal developments, whilst we receive their direct evaluation and assessment of the effects these will have on them.

Our goal is to link SME leaders to the legislators

SME Europe is also a platform for SME leaders to bring their own ideas or voice their concerns regarding the obstacles and opportunities offered by legislation, by engaging directly with decision makers. This direct connection is important for it is SMEs that are operating on the ground and are engaged daily in commercial activities, thus can deliver the most precise and immediate assessment to every initiative designed in Brussels.


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

Europe’s SME sector is the engine of the EU economy. However to flourish, companies need employees with a spirit of initiative and legislators who understand the nature of entrepreneurship. We advocate for enabling and encouraging policies to stimulate SMEs as well as creativity, innovation, ongoing learning, agility and entrepreneurial spirit throughout society.

We are committed to support SMEs in Europe to adopt to climate neutrality, reap the benefits of digitalisation and improve access to finance.

Access to finance remains one of the greatest challenges SMEs are facing in the EU. Businesses are looking into alternative forms of finance, as crowd funding, etc, while calling for improved access to bank lending. Availability of new financial instruments would allow SMEs to pursue more risky projects and therefore forster innovation and ensure Europe remains globally competitive.

So, how does SME Europe work?

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

mostly by means of organised public hearings and events, which give the opportunity for varying stakeholders from the European Parliament, European Commission as well as other institutional and industry representatives, associations, academia, and most certainly, SMEs, to interact with each other.

It is during these discussions 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 possibility is to contribute to the work of our working groups that are targeting the key actions of the EU SME Strategy to considerably increase the number of SMEs engaging in sustainable business practices as well as the number of SMEs employing digital technologies but also reducing regulatory burden, improving market access and access to finance. Ultimately, the goal is that Europe becomes the most attractive place to start a small business, make it grow and scale up in the single market.

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 Ret.
President 2015 - 2018

Read more

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

Read more

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)