Co-operatives welcomed a report adopted by the European Parliament on 16 December, which calls for a review of the strategy for SMEs in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report highlights structural challenges that existed prior to the Covid-19 crisis as well as new challenges arising from the pandemic. It argues the EU needs to update its SME strategy in the light of the Covid-19 crisis, while keeping the focus on advancing the transition toward “a socially, economically and environmentally resilient society and a competitive economy”.
Reacting to the report, Cooperatives Europe said it was pleased to see that the updated strategy and the European Commission’s adopted report took into account this new reality.
The apex body also welcomed the recognition of the importance of co-operatives in the European economy in sectors such as in banking, agriculture and entrepreneurship in general, particularly among young people.
“As stated in our survey report, like many other social economy enterprises, cooperatives active in various sectors of the economy suffered tremendously from the crisis,” it said.
The report stresses the importance of traditional banking models in helping SMEs recover post Covid-19, including small regional banks and savings co-operatives. It also points our that the SME strategy needs to cover different sizes and types of SMEs, including those active in the social economy and adds that SMEs involved in traditional handicrafts, tourism, cultural and creative sectors and the social economy to be particularly vulnerable segments of the SME network.
The Parliament adopted the report with 533 votes in favour, 58 against and 82 abstentions. The resolution will now be forwarded to be to the Council and the Commission for consideration.