Viewpoint: Restarting Europe’s real economy
Antonio Tajani Vice-President,
Industry and Entrepreneurship,
“I want the real economy, industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be center stage. We need to give our younger generations hope and a vision for the future through growth and jobs.
To restore confidence in the markets, leave the financial crisis behind us once and for all, and prevent economic and political decline, we need to close the gap with the spectacular growth of emerging economies and support innovation. This will only be possible if we really bet on our entrepreneurship, industry and SMEs, and on their capacity to adapt to the global challenges and opportunities.
Every year, millions of new consumers emerge in China, India, Russia and Brazil. This is a great potential market for innovative, high-quality European products. But to win the inventiveness -battle in our globalized market, our industry and SMEs need to restructure, modernize and invest in innovation.
Our industry can compete on quality and innovation, but changes like these must be financed, and this requires financial markets to refocus on the needs of the real economy.
We also need to make it easier for SMEs to run their businesses. Some 99% of all European businesses are independent and have fewer than 250 employees.
It is much easier to believe that we can create 23 million new jobs if our 23 million SMEs each employ just one more person, than to expect 3,800 new jobs to be created by each of our 6,000 blue chips.
Through the strengthening of the Small Business Act, I’ve put improving the business environment, access to credit and internationalization of SMEs, at the very top of my political agenda. We need to change our culture, to “think small first” when it comes to policy-making and regulation, and to make new generations excited about starting their own businesses.
Lastly, we are facing a new industrial revolution. Demographic growth and new consumers in emerging markets result in fierce competition for energy sources and raw materials, and increase speculative risks.
Together, these could seriously threaten our industry and sustainable growth. But the need to use resources more efficiently could also be a great opportunity for our future competitiveness if we make the right political choices and invest to promote our know-how and technological leadership, especially in greener technologies.”