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European SMEs surpassed pre-crisis level of employment
The year 2016 marked the third consecutive year of steady increases in EU SME employment and value added. Most importantly, 2016 was also the year in which EU SME employment exceeded the 2008 level for the first time since the 2008/2009 economic and financial crisis.
The Annual Report on European SMEs for 2016/2017 shows that SMEs continue to recover. EU SME employment has fully recovered from the 2008/2009 economic and financial crisis and in 2016 it even exceeded the 2008 level, by 0.6 %. The value added generated by EU SMEs showed even greater recovery, as in 2016 it was 11 % higher than in 2008. At sectoral level, the employment recovery in SMEs was most dynamic in services industries.
The general macro-economic environment strengthened SME activity in all industries due to the expansion of all categories of final demand (i.e. household and government consumption, exports of goods and services, as well as capital investment by households, governments and businesses). In previous years, the main driver of the SME recovery was exports.
In 2016, the recovery encompassed nearly all EU Member States. SME employment growth surpassed 3 % in Malta, Croatia, Slovakia, Portugal, Cyprus, Lithuania and Luxembourg, while SME value added increased by more than 5 % in Romania, Malta, Bulgaria, Croatia and Ireland. Latvia did not record growth in SME employment, while Greece and Poland were the two EU Member States that did not see the SME value added increased in 2016.
EU SMEs as a group have recovered, but the picture is more mixed at Member State level:
- In nine Member States (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) all three SME performance indicators (number of SME enterprises, SME employment and SME value added) were higher in 2016 than in 2008.
- In six Member States (Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), the abovementioned three SME performance indicators were all still below their 2008 levels.
- The other 13 Member States show only partial recovery in one or two of the abovementioned indicators.
Start-ups and scale-ups are important drivers of economic growth. On average, 9.2 % of firms with at least 10 employees in the EU ‘business economy’ were high-growth firms. Over 90 % of newly created firms are born in traditional (i.e. non-ICT) sectors. The approximately 31 million self-employed, accounting for 14 % of total EU employment, have a sizeable impact on the EU economy.
A few additional years of solid economy-wide growth will be necessary to leave the effects of the crisis fully behind. EU SMEs are expected to continue their relatively steady pace of growth in 2017 and 2018. Their employment is forecast to increase by 1 % in 2017 and 0.9 % in 2018, while their value added is predicted to grow by 2.5 % in 2017 and 3.8 % in 2018.
Over 90 young journalists will gather in the European Parliament in Brussels from 16th to 18th October to take part in the European Youth Media Days (EYMD) 2017, which is one of the biggest events in Europe dedicated to young journalists and other media makers. Over the course of the three-day workshop, each participant will work to produce a report on the topic of the seminar through their medium of choice: video, photo, radio, print, multimedia or graphic design. This year’s edition will focus on topic “Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities”. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the event, all participants will have an opportunity to win the EYMD Jubilee Award in several categories.
“A continuous platform for emerging journalists enthusiastic about European cooperation and European issues is an investment in the future of democracy and journalism in Europe,” EYMD 2017 Coordinator Martin Maska said.
The European Youth Media Days are a laboratory for first steps towards opening up national public spheres, cross the borders of public opinion and create an European public space. EYMD are a part of an intercultural dialogue in promoting a broad discussion and networking on European issues among young people and in creating innovative intercultural media formats under facilitation by young journalists.
Participants will experience three days of media workshops, political discussions, hands-on media production and invaluable insights into the European Parliament and international media milieu. They will get the chance to interact with high-level European politicians, professional journalists and experts, and engage in intercultural exchange through practical media production.
“The European Youth Media Days will give the freedom to critically and constructively think about, debate and journalistically cover opportunities for today’s media and challenges they face, as well as state of the art of the European media literacy,” Martin Maska said.
Topic of “Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities” encompass sub-themes, such as: citizen journalism (citizens vs professionals), role of journalists in modern societies, changes in financial/editorial models, changes in the profession as such, importance of social responsible journalism.
It is also important to focus on literacy, as media literate public being able to recognise propaganda, fake news and media manipulation together with professional journalists being aware of their social responsibility are important for development of each democratic society.
“It is very important to raise people’s awareness of forces that may influence media, techniques of (mass)media manipulation and agenda setting as well as concrete cases of biased or distorted journalism,” Maska said. In his opinion it is also important to foster critical thinking and ability to decode media messages. But also that all parts of the society are represented in media, because lack of presence of minorities and youth supports polarization and stereotyped reporting.
“Besides this content, the EYMD jubilee celebrations will be an opportunity for reflecting on the developments in media field, based on experiences of the EYP network, especially from past editions of the EYMD, discussing the upcoming EYMD’s and challenges present in the media world,” Martin Maska said.
At the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the EYMD, the European Youth Press and the European Parliament will appreciate excellence in media production and essay writing. Therefore all participants will get the opportunity to submit media of their choice on the opportunities for today’s media and challenges they face, or essay on media literacy and critical thinking.
The EYMD is one of the biggest events in Europe dedicated to young journalists and other media makers. This year it will take place in the European Parliament seat in Brussels.
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