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In the spotlight of ministers in Dublin – promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises

Date

2013 05 03

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‘When talking about the entrepreneurship in regions, regional entrepreneurial disparities have to be taken into account. Therefore, careful examining of local economic capacities and regional factors is very important.  A co-ordinated system of policies, covering regulatory environment, education, access to finance and innovation policy, would be needed to sustain and implement such a systemic approach’, - said Minister of Economy of Lithuania Birutė Vėsaitė on 3 May in the informal meeting of the EU Industry Ministers in Dublin.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a major source of jobs in Europe and an important factor for economic growth; the European Union (EU) governments therefore seek to promote entrepreneurship, the establishment of SMEs in the EU, to improve access of SMEs to finance and encourage internationalization of SMEs, said the EU industry ministers.

Lithuanian Minister of Economy Birutė Vėsaitė moderated the Break-out Session of the meeting ‘Entrepreneurship – cities and regions (clusters) as drivers of entrepreneurship, innovation, economic growth and jobs’.

According to the Minister, regional economic efficiency can be increased by encouraging partnerships among businesses and research institutions within clusters. Regions can successfully settle in clusters with help from national governments. We would rather like to see identification of regional strengths and their unique potential that can be utilized to expand existing cluster networks into fully functioning participants and members of value creation across borders. The formation of clusters in the promotion of the EU's Single Market context may help to more effectively implement support for small and medium business tools. The existing clusters can become international-level and higher value-added networks that can help SMEs to establish business relations in the EU and beyond.

On the topic ‘SMEs as a Driver of European Growth’ Vice President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani said that in order to overcome the economic crisis in Europe we have to reindustrialize Europe – reach that until 2020 industrial production could build up to 20 per cent of the EU GDP. Also we have to promote clusters, as well as the internationalization of SMEs.

Ministers discussed the Mutually Agreed Contracts for Competitiveness and Growth, initiatives of the Commission and the European Council for the implementation of structural economic reforms. The Ministers concluded that the contractual arrangements could be a useful tool to support Member States in the difficult process of implementing key structural reforms for competitiveness and growth.

According to Minister Birutė Vėsaitė, the Mutually Agreed Contracts between Member States and the Commission can be a useful tool to encourage Member States to accelerate the implementation of national reforms.

The academics and business representatives spoke on SME access to finance, on cities and regions as drivers of entrepreneurship and on potential opportunities for EU enterprises in global markets. The ministerial meeting was chaired by the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovations. The Irish Presidency will summarize the discussion and report the reflections of the Ministers to the President of the European Council.