Proposals aimed at redefining the meaning of SMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) to favour bigger companies have been opposed by GUE/NGL at a European Parliament committee vote this morning.

Attempts to introduce a new category called ‘MidCaps’ have been criticised as these ‘bigger’ companies risk taking away crucial access to financing and benefits from the ‘smaller’ SMEs – especially micro companies.

Similarly, plans to explore new criteria for SMEs or to adapt the definition according to inflation and productivity growth have been branded as ‘dangerous’ considering the disparity across the EU and its regions.

Currently, SMEs employ two-thirds of the EU’s working population and provide more than 90 per cent of the jobs. They also make up around 99 per cent of all businesses in the EU and are therefore critical to social cohesion and the creation and maintenance of sustainable and high-quality jobs.

Paloma López (Izquierda Plural, Spain) is particular damning of the proposals by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy to broaden the definition of an SME to include ‘MidCaps’:

“The intention of this file has been twisted to offer the Commission the possibility to establish a wider and more flexible definition for something which should be concrete and unmistakable. The proposals allow ‘MidCaps’ and enterprises, that neither fit the definition of an SME nor need support or special advantages, to benefit from the subsidies that would have gone to SMEs.

“There has to be a clear definition of an SME, and the proposed text does not address that. It supports a definition that is based on free market economics, favouring export companies rather than the workers and SMEs in domestic markets. It is a redefinition that satisfies the free market,” she added

Neoklis Sylikiotis (AKEL, Cyprus) also voted against in the committee this morning:

“We voted against the resolution because any attempt to change and broaden the definition of SMEs in order to include the bigger companies will hurt micro, small and medium-sized enterprises which have less capacity and are in need of greater support.”

“On the contrary, we firmly believe that more support should be given to micro and SMEs which are the backbone of the EU economy – especially in the small member states”, he added.   

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