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EU SMEs have the potential to create 23 million jobs

03.05.2013, 15:15 GMT


EU Enterprise Ministers focus on enabling SMEs to drive growth and job creation during productive discussions on copyright and Digital Single Market.

Europe’s SMEs have a key role in solving the EU’s economic challenges and have the potential to create 23 million jobs, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

Minister Bruton was speaking after he chaired a meeting of EU Enterprise and Industry Ministers in Dublin Castle.Ministers discussed how to enable SMEs to drive European growth and job creation.  The meeting was the second day of a two-day informal meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council, being held as part of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.

Ministers heard from a number of leading authorities on SMEs. Speakers included Professor Josh Lerner, Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School who spoke on SME access to finance; former winner of Irish Entrepreneur of the Year , Liam Shanahan, who identified the key measures required for SMEs to internationalise and Professor Thomas Cooney from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) who spoke on how cities and regions are the drivers of growth and jobs. The European Commission was represented by Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani.

Minister Bruton commented: “As the Irish Presidency of the EU is focused on stability, jobs and growth, initiatives to help SMEs are top of my priority list. SMEs are the engines of economic growth and job creation. If each SME in the EU could create just one new job, we would generate 23 million jobs throughout the EU. That is why I brought leading international experts on SMEs to Dublin Castle today to engage with EU Enterprise Ministers.”

“Following today’s Council, I will be drawing up the best of these new ideas for SME support and job creation and working with my fellow EU Enterprise Ministers on their implementation.”

Minister Bruton - “Already the Irish Presidency has achieved some valuable wins for SMEs: auditing requirements for SMEs are set to be reduced and the target participation rate for SMEs in the EU’s new innovation programme Horizon 2020 has been increased from 15 to 20 per cent.“

“Work is also continuing to obtain agreement on the Programme for Competitiveness and SMEs (COSME). I will be looking for every opportunity to further the interests of Europe’s SMEs and to ensure that they can extract the greatest possible benefit from the funding available under these programmes, particularly in relation to expanding the scope for participation in research and innovation activity.”

“Along with Minister Sherlock, I also chaired a productive discussion on issues around copyright. This follows successive calls by EU leaders to expedite the introduction of a Digital Single Market by 2015. In this context, the European Council has called for the need to modernise Europe’s copyright regime to make it fit-for-purpose for the digital age.”

“Today’s discussion was very productive and will, I expect, in addition to the European Commission’s broader stakeholder dialogue, help us achieve progress on this important issue.”

Minister Bruton - “For the remaining time in our Presidency our focus will continue on delivering results that contribute to our core objectives of delivering stability, employment and economic growth across the EU.”

Read the Irish Presidency priorities for the Competitiveness Council in the Irish Presidency programme.

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