• Commission launches public consultation on new digital data portal
  • Accountancy Europe collaborates with MEP on EU financing for SMEs
  • EUIPO opens second application window for IP vouchers for SMEs

European Commission

Commission launches public consultation on new digital data portal

The public consultation, launched on 20 January, gathers stakeholders’ input for European Commission’s plans to set up a European single access point (ESAP).

ESAP sets up an EU-wide platform that provides investors and other relevant stakeholders with one-stop-shop access to comparable company information – both financial and non-financial. SMEs’ information is also proposed to be included in the portal, but on a voluntary basis. Accountancy Europe is preparing its response to the consultation as well.

Stakeholders have until 12 March to respond.

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Commission disburses €14 billion under SURE to nine Member States

This is the first disbursement in 2021, and the fourth one since the SURE instrument’s launch. This latest installment allocates to Belgium €2 billion, Cyprus €229 million, Hungary €304 million, Latvia €72 million, Poland €4.28 billion, Slovenia €913 million, Spain €1.03 billion, Greece €728 million and Italy €4.45 billion.

SURE funding is aimed to help Member States cover the costs directly related to the financing of national short-time work schemes, and other similar measures that they have put in place as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, including for the self-employed.

Accountancy Europe supports SURE and similar measures that help SMEs retain their workforce and skills.

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European Parliament

JURI Committee advances its position on supply chain due diligence

The JURI Committee of the European Parliament adopted a draft report on Corporate due diligence and corporate accountability with 21 votes in favour, 1 against and 1 abstention on 27 January. The report was prepared by MEP Lara Wolters (S&D/Netherlands).

The draft report sets out the Parliament’s position ahead of a Commission proposal on the topic later this year.

The JURI position calls on the Commission to carefully study the potential impacts of due diligence requirements on SMEs, to provide technical assistance to them and to give SMEs time to adapt.

A final vote in Plenary is scheduled for 8 March.

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SME Europe gathers input on COVID crisis impact on SMEs

SME Europe, the European Parliament’s Christian Democrats’ Group’s forum of MEPs dedicated to advancing SME friendly policies, has launched a survey calling for first-hand information on how SMEs across the EU operate during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. SME Europe says that the received input will help them identify problems, constraints and challenges to:

  • improve the EU’s comprehensive response strategy
  • deploy resources to address critical business needs and
  • develop new policies to significantly improve SME legislation in the EU.

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Accountancy Europe collaborates with MEP on EU financing for SMEs

MEP Salvatore De Meo (EPP/Italy) has collaborated with Accountancy Europe to work on an Italian language translation of our earlier publication on EU financing for SMEs. The publication gives a high-level overview of the EU financing opportunities and programmes that are available for SMEs from across Europe.

MEP Questions & Replies

Commission outlines measures taken to help prevent insolvencies

  • Question by MEP Salvatore De Meo (EPP/Italy)
  • Reply by Commissioner Reynders

Commission elaborates its plans for fostering SME access to IP rights

  • Question by MEP Gianantonio Da Re (ID/Italy)
  • Reply by Commissioner Breton

Commission gives overview of current EU funding opportunities for SMEs

  • Question by MEP Ioan-Rareș Bogdan (EPP/Romania)
  • Reply by Commissioner Breton

Commission explains role of the SME Envoy

  • Question by MEPs Jens Gieseke (EPP/Germany) and Henna Virkkunen (EPP/Finland)
  • Reply by Commissioner Breton

Accountancy Europe publishes paper on insolvency and early warning risks for SMEs

Accountancy Europe’s new publication outlines some of the main insolvency risks and challenges faced by SMEs. It also highlights the role that professional accountants – many of whom are small practitioners themselves – can play in helping SMEs manage and prepare for the risks, and to identify red flags to better advise their SME clients. It also includes two checklists to support the accountant in their work to mitigate their clients’ insolvency risks.

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Accountancy Europe responds to Commission consultation on sustainable corporate governance

Accountancy Europe calls for the exclusion of SMEs from upcoming mandatory due diligence requirements, with the exception of especially medium-sized entities in highest risk sectors. However, smaller entities should be encouraged and enabled to adopt voluntary supply chain due diligence measures. The Commission should produce non-binding guidelines and provide capacity building support to help small businesses that wish to proceed. Sectoral “good manufacturer” labelling or certificate schemes would also help.

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EUIPO opens second application window for IP vouchers for SMEs

European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has opened a new call for SME applications to benefit from intellectual property registration related costs and services. Open to all enterprises in the EU that fit the official definition of a SME, the new scheme offers financial support in the form of reimbursements for trade mark and design application and for IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan), up to a maximum amount of € 1,500 per business.

The new application window is open from 1 to 31 March. This is the second of five application windows running throughout 2021.

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UK to offer ‘help to grow’ training for SME managers

The bosses of small businesses are to be invited back to school to brush up on their management skills, under plans to be announced in the budget designed to help close Britain’s productivity gap.

As part of the attempt to speed up the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will unveil a “help to grow” scheme that will offer the leaders of up to 130,000 SMEs the chance of MBA-style management training.

Read moreThis curated content was brought to you by Johan Barros, Accountancy Europe policy manager since 2015. You can send him tips by email, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.