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EU Industry Days 2021

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The EU Industry days will be taking place next week from 23-26 February and be an opportunity to listen to and be involved with discussions centring around the challenges facing industry, development opportunities and policy responses.

This year’s programme will feature sessions and speakers talking about green and digital transitions and the opportunities both transitions present for EU businesses and citizens. Top speakers will include European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton.  

The large variety of sessions will also feature the Pact for Skills, circular procurement, lessons learnt from the COVID crisis and several specific masterclasses and parallel sessions.

Alongside the main programme the first fully virtual EU Industry days will feature a virtual exhibition showcasing 43 EU projects. Conference participants will also have opportunities to vote for their favourite projects across categories in the #EUIndustryDays competition.

In addition to the EU Industry days, affiliated events will be taking place across Europe under the EU Industry Week.

Registration for the EU Industry days is still open and the full programme is available on the website.

SME Assembly 2020 – Day 1

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The first day of the SME Assembly 2020 opened with an address from Minister Peter Altmaier, who reflected on the problems SMEs have faced during the COVID pandemic and emphasised that liquidity assistance has been provided efficiently so far but needs to continue. He also discussed the recovery plan for Europe and discussed the German government’s position, which supports investment related to climate neutrality and digitalisation.

The Assembly then gave the floor to Commissioner Thierry Breton who stressed the importance of SMEs in driving a sustainable and digital European recovery. He spoke about the SME Strategy and its significance as a tool in helping the EU achieve autonomy in strategic sectors. Commissioner Breton also spoke about the importance of fighting against late payments and the need to work on helping our SMEs become more resilient. In addition he touched on the importance of our Single Market, calling it one of our biggest assets and the need to keep our borderless markets open.

As part of the opening plenary our SME Assembly host Shona Murray interviewed Fiona Candon, Deputy President of Chambers Ireland and Matilda Mielind, Board Member of SMEunited.

Throughout the morning sessions, delegates learnt about the SME Envoy Network, about what it does and the crucial role it plays in making sure that the voices of small businesses are heard at national and EU level. The session on digital sovereignty highlighted the importance of developing collaborative attitudes and leaving behind the silo mentality. Over in the session on keeping businesses afloat during times of crisis, speakers stressed the need to focus on SME resilience and to focus the creation of recovery instruments on existing practice.

Opening the afternoon was the highly anticipated awards ceremony featuring the winners of the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards, and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The highly coveted EEPA Grand Jury Prize was awarded to French Project Le Portail du Rebond, which has created a unique online platform for entrepreneurs to access all the different national services and bodies to help them get back on their feet and bounce back. Watch the EEPA winning moments of all of the deserving winners right here and consult the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards press release for more information.

After the excitement of the awards Nobel prize laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, gave this year’s Schumpeter Innovation in Enterprise Lecture. Professor Stiglitz spoke about the problems caused by the emphasis on markets without sufficient government regulation markets; the economic effects of the COVID pandemic and the effect of cutbacks in science budgets; the rise of the tech giants; the role of innovation in transforming our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables; and his hopes for the new US administration. More information about the 2020 Schumpeter lecture can be found here.

If you missed Professor Stiglitz at the Assembly you can now watch his lecture online:

Optimism characterised afternoon sessions on disruptive technology, circular economy and leadership. Innovators are often driven to create by the worst situations, technology and eco-friendly innovation are the way to environmental harmony, and leaders should not be afraid to be human to connect with their workforces.

Closing sessions offered insights into female entrepreneurship during the crisis, access to finance for SMEs and plans for support and what is in store for the future of the workplace. Themes of collaboration and ‘seeing a silver lining’ came through. Encouragement to see the pandemic as an opportunity to explore new working models, increasing access to resources for female entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs overall and bringing EU tools to SMEs to help them prioritise digital transformation.

Day 1 of the Assembly was full, but it’s not over yet! Make sure to join us for Day 2 and follow the live coverage over on Twitter @EEPA_EU and don’t forget to use #SMEAssembly2020 for a chance to be featured on the event feed.

Haven’t registered yet? Last minute registrations are still possible but be quick! You can register here.

Pact for Skills launched by Commissioners Schmit and Breton

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The original press release is available in the Commission Press Corner.

Commissioners Schmit and Breton officially launched the Pact for Skills on 10 November during the fifth edition of the European Vocational Skills Week 2020, organised by the European Commission in partnership with the German Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Europe’s skill needs are affected by mismatches and shortages, and it is only through relevant partnerships that substantial progress can be made. The focus on skills is essential to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and for mastering the digital and green transitions.

What is the Pact for Skills?

The Pact for Skills promotes joint action to maximise the impact of investing in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). It calls on industry, employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, public authorities, education and training providers and employment agencies to work together and make a clear commitment to invest in training for all working age people across the Union. It also aims to support green and digital transition and assist with local and regional growth strategies.

The Pact is a flagship initiative under the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, presented on 1 July 2020.

First European skills partnerships announced

In addition to launching the Pact, Commissioners Breton and Schmit also announced the first European skills partnerships. These partnerships focus on strategic industrial ecosystems heavily affected by the current crisis and the priority areas identified in the European Green Deal to achieve ambitious commitments. The first European skills partnerships in key industrial ecosystems are as follows:

  • Automotive: The ambition to upskill 5% of the workforce each year would result in around 700,000 people being upskilled throughout the entire ecosystem, representing a potential overall private and public investment of €7bn starting with regional pilot schemes.
  • Microelectronics: Initiatives underpinning the ambition of the partnership represent an overall public and private investment of €2bn providing upskilling and reskilling opportunities for more than 250,000 workers and students (2021-2025) in Europe’s electronics clusters.
  • Aerospace and defence: The ambition is to upskill around 6% of the workforce each year reaching 200,000 people, and to reskill 300,000 people to enter the ecosystem representing a public and private investment of €1bn over the next ten years.

Find out more about the Pact for Skills, additional questions and answers covered during the launch as well as how to join the pact on the website.

What is on the 2020 programme? – Virtual Reality and Youth Essay Competition final

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The SME Assembly 2020 is getting closer and still accepting registrations. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the online edition taking place from 16-17 November and register now to secure your place.

This year’s programme promises to be high-level and diverse with many famous faces such as Peter Altmaier, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, and renowned economist Maja Göpel.

Here on the News Portal we have already introduced our distinguished 2020 Schumpeter lecturer Professor Joseph Stiglitz, and looked into the joint EEPA and European Small and Mid-Caps Awards ceremony. But what else is on the programme?

There’s truly something for everyone in the range of policy workshops and masterclasses that will be on offer, with topics ranging from SME’s leading the EU’s digital sovereignty to discussions about Women Entrepreneurs in times of COVID. As always, each session will see leading European experts convene to discuss the matters at hand from a specialist perspective. The highly anticipated Youth Essay Competition finals where our top three finalists will compete for YOUR vote will also be taking place LIVE as part of this year’s programme.

The SME Assembly 2020 will also offer networking opportunities, to ensure that the valuable conversations between delegates and the connections built throughout our Promoting Enterprise community are not lost. Make sure to register as soon as possible to secure your chance to network in dedicated online spaces and sessions during this year’s Assembly.

In addition to traditional networking there will also be ‘Virtual Worlds’ available for a small number of Assembly attendees to experience an innovative and immersive networking session. These sessions will transport participants to other worlds and demonstrate how SMEs can use ground breaking opportunities that the digital and technology expanse offers for economic growth and resilience. In order to secure one of these additional limited places first, register for the SME Assembly event, then contact the SME Assembly Secretariat with VR Event as the subject line to register your interest. Please note that only registered delegates will be able to secure spots for the VR sessions.

Register for the SME Assembly 2020 and join us for THE event for SMEs and those who support them.

SME Week Newsletter 2020: Issue #5

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In the interests of the safety and wellbeing of our community, the decision has been taken by the German Presidency of the Council in cooperation with the European Commission to transform the SME Assembly 2020 into an online event.

The event will feature the usual array of top-level speakers, panels and masterclasses, and will feature a highly curated programme designed for the European enterprise community to share, innovate and continue to build the resilience that has helped us get through the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19.

In this edition we will also be sharing the latest EEPA 2020 announcements, including introductions to some of our top finalists, as well as a closer look at the projects awarded Special Mentions by the 2020 jury.

Don’t forget that we also want to hear YOUR stories, how are you facing these challenging times? Share your news and updates to be featured in an upcoming issue or on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal.

Read more >>

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The SME Assembly 2020 goes ONLINE!

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In the interests of the safety and wellbeing of our community, the decision has been taken by the German Presidency of the Council in cooperation with the Commission to transform the SME Assembly 2020 into an online event.

The SME Assembly 2020 will feature a combination of high-level panels and interviews, expert roundtables, interactive workshops, informative masterclasses, and innovative networking opportunities to help answer the difficult questions facing our community post-COVID.

Top speakers, such as Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, have already confirmed their participation in this year’s event. We are delighted to inform you that Professor Stiglitz will deliver the 2020 Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture from New York.

We will also be joined by many other top speakers such as Commissioner Thierry Breton, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, the distinguished economist Dr. Maja Göpel, and many more.

So, if you haven’t already, SAVE THE DATES in your diaries.

You can start following the SME Assembly 2020 conversation and join in by using #SMEAssembly2020 on Twitter and by following @EEPA_EU, or by heading over to Facebook and following the @PromotingEnterprise page. Other updates on the SME Assembly 2020 will also be posted right here on the News Portal.

We look forward to seeing you online on the 16th and 17th November for this exciting virtual version of SME Assembly 2020!

For any questions on this year’s SME Assembly 2020 please contact the SME Assembly Secretariat and don’t forget to register.

Removing restrictions to the Single Market

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The original article can be found on the DG GROWTH website.

The European Commission convened a first meeting with Member States as part of the new Single Market Enforcement Task Force (SMET) to discuss the urgent need to allow the free flow of goods such as face masks, medical supplies and food across the EU.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The coronavirus outbreak has made it crystal clear that no country can fight this virus alone. Europe needs to act together with solidarity. Restrictions endanger this solidarity and prevent essential goods from reaching those who need them most. The Single Market is the backbone of our joint response and we need decisive action to lift any restrictions undermining it.” 

The creation of SMET was announced in the Commission’s Single Market Enforcement Action Plan on 10 March in the context of the industrial strategy. The Task Force was envisaged as a platform for Member States and the Commission to work together to ensure better compliance with Single Market rules.

This first meeting kick-started the work of the new Task Force in light of the urgency of issues hampering the correct functioning of the Single Market, mainly intra-EU export restrictions of vital protective, medical and medicinal supplies, border controls and the need to increase production of essential equipment. This also aims at implementing the clear guidance of Europe’s leaders given at the European Council of 26 March to remove all internal bans or restrictions to the free movement of goods. The task force will be convened on a regular basis to discuss issues concerning enforcement issues in the Single Market.

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