On September 24th, Employers of Poland hosted representatives of the European Small Business Alliance. Secretary General Patrick Gibbels and Director John Walker were received by Executive Vicepresident of Employers of Poland Janusz Pietkiewicz. The meeting was focused on looking for opportunities to protect the interests of small and medium business – which makes up 90 percent of all businesses in the EU – on the European stage.
Particular attention was devoted to combatting excessive bureaucracy in EU institutions and the issue of access to financing for SMEs. The European Commission is currently focused on regulations pertaining to venture capital and business angels financing – mostly for high-risk investments in innovative projects, rather than ordinary activities of SMEs.
Patrick Gibbels emphasized the importance of ESBA as the voice of entrepreneurs in negotiations on TTIP and CETA. ESBA was glad to see the section devoted to SMEs included in the TTIP agreement. However, it is only the beginning of the road towards ensuring tangible benefits for small European companies after the TTIP comes into force: in its current for the section in question is too general.
Vicepresident Pietkiewicz assured of Employers’ of Poland readiness to support initiatives undertaken by ESBA. He also pointed out that the challenges faced by SMEs are similar all over Europe. Problems such as excessive bureaucracy and restricted access to financing have to addressed by social partners in Poland as well. Pietkiewicz also added that Employers of Poland undertake a number of initiatives on behalf of Polish entrepreneurs within the B20 – an advisory body to the G20 – where the issue of SMEs, together with the anti-corruption program, is a priority. Representatives of ESBA declared their willingness to cooperate with our Organization within the B20 and the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as in future initiatives focusing on SMEs in Poland.
The European Small Business Alliance is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities.
Today, ESBA is one of the largest organizations based on voluntary membership in Europe. Through its direct membership, associate membership and cooperation agreements, the Alliance now represents almost one million small businesses and covers 35 European countries.