Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January, 2021 at 2:28 pm by Andre Camilleri
Following an overwhelming vote in favour of the Report on Europe’s Strategy for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises that she spearheaded on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, Maltese MEP Josianne Cutajar is now following up on this success with a crucial effort to ensure that the Strategy is implemented in full and in an effective way.
WhileDr Cutajar’s work as chief negotiator for the S&D group on the Report went a long way in securing the vote’s success, she has in the past days pursued assurances from the European Commission by fielding a Parliamentary Question asking for more specific information from the Commission on the next steps in the implementation of the SME strategy.
Dr Cutajar intervened with questions for explanations as to how the various difficulties and operational burdens that SMEs are facing today will be eased. She also asked for details on how the Commission is planning to address the challenges currently affecting the competitiveness and opportunities of those enterprises operating from small islands like Malta and Gozo.
MEP Cutajar also asked for details on the Commission’s plans to ensure that island-based SMEs do not suffer any setbacks owing to their locations, that make them significantly less well-connected than enterprises based in other, more accessible areas of Europe.
Dr Cutajar insisted, moreover, that the impact of any future revision of European competition rules on businesses that are already at a disadvantage because of their location will need to be assessed beforehand. Currently, challenges for transportation, connectivity and other issues continue to place SMEs that work from locations on the periphery of the EU in a disadvantaged situation.
The Gozitan MEP pledged her continuing support for more flexible competition rules that would improve the chances of success for island-based and periphery-based SMEs, including measure to help them overcome the expenses they incur over and above those of their mainland-based counterparts.
Dr Cutajar pointed out that she will not relent in her effort on this matter, and that her work certainly did not end with the Plenary vote. “On the contrary”, she noted, “I am pressing ahead with my work to see this Strategy come to fruition. This will not only benefit the thousands of enterprises across the European Union member states, but also the thousands of workers they employ and their families, including those of Malta and Gozo.”
Meanwhile, Dr Cutajar’s engagements for the past week have included a meeting with European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The various disadvantages that small islands like Malta come up against were discussed during the meeting, with Dr Cutajar reiterating her commitment to place the policy for islands higher on the European agenda, and to ensure they receive the attention they deserve.