The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

MEP Alex Agius Saliba speaks at Politico event on making digital work for European SMEs

Saturday, 21 November 2020, 09:20 Last update: about 12 days ago
Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba participated in a lively discussion at a virtual event on making digital work for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), organised by Politico.

"It was a pleasure to discuss, at such a high-level event, my report and in particular the recommendations on how to embrace the digital economy and help our SMEs to survive the current crisis. I strongly urge the Commission to embrace my proposals in the upcoming Digital Services Act, as they will be crucial if we are to help European SMEs to jump the train of digitalisation," Agius Saliba said.

At the event, stakeholders sparked a lively discussion on SMEs and entrepreneurs' challenges and barriers to going digital, looking at practical solutions to provide a better digital environment for SMEs in Europe.

The European economy is more and more digitalized. This trend increased during the pandemic, as many businesses had to switch to digital business models to survive lockdowns, which is harder for SMEs.

During the event, Agius Saliba stressed that the COVID-19 had been a tsunami for SMEs across Europe. The current crisis has demonstrated how unprepared Europe and the Member States were. "We need to establish new business models and support European businesses, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), micro-enterprises, and self-employed." said the MEP.

He also emphasised that the European Union should focus on reducing barriers to market entry, on regulating large platforms, and on ensuring that digital markets are fair and transparent. Agius Saliba explained that more opportunities need to be created and the Union should work harder to open up markets to new entrants, SMEs, and start-ups.

"We need a new generation of EU digital strategy for SMEs, putting together all there is for SMEs under the vast umbrella to mitigate the adverse effects of the lockdown and help businesses recover quickly." the MEP said.
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