Friday, May 03, 2013

EU SMEs have potential to create 23 million jobs - Minister Bruton


Enterprise Ministers focus on enabling SMEs to drive growth and job creation

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’s 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 will speak on SME access to finance. Former winner of Irish Entrepreneur of the Year, Liam Shanahan, identified the key measures required for SMEs to internationalise and Professor Thomas Cooney from DIT who spoke on how cities and regions driver growth and jobs. European Commission Vice President with responsibility for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani was among the keynote speakers.

Minister Richard Bruton commented: “As the Irish Presidency of the EU is focused on Stability, Growth and Jobs, initiatives to help SMEs are a key priority. SMEs are the engines of economic growth and job creation. If each EU SME 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.”

“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 SME’s 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.”
“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.”

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