SME Assembly 2022: dense programme but no focus on buildings

From 28 to 30 November 2022, the European Commission along with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU are hosting the SME Assembly 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. The SME Assembly is the EU’s major yearly event for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe, bringing together a network of SME envoys, policy makers, SME representatives and civil society actors.

In face-to-face format for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, EBC physically attended this assembly featuring high-level panels and interviews, coupled by expert round tables and interactive workshops, informative masterclasses and numerous networking opportunities.

Among the highlights of the three-day assembly, were the interventions of Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Jozef Síkela, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and Petri Salminen, President of SMEunited, who inaugurated the second day of activities. Commissioner Breton emphasized the Commission’s determination to ensure that the legal framework on late payment is updated and enforced. Minister Síkela noted the difficulties facing SMEs due to the energy crisis and the efforts at Council level to adopt relevant measures, while SMEunited President Salminen focused on the potential of SMEs to respond to the European challenges while also highlighting the need for further support in the current constraining economic context.

Among interesting interventions, SMEunited Secretary General Veronique Willems intervened in the interactive workshop entitled “No Net Zero without SMEs: launching practical support for energy transition,” giving the perspective of SMEs’ contribution to the EU’s climate neutrality goals by 2050. Ms Willems emphasized the need for clear and coherent rules for SMEs, who make up the backbone of the European economy, notably when it comes to reporting on their activities and value chains, in the context of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDD).

Considering the pivotal role of the construction ecosystem to deliver on the Green Deal and Renovation Wave ambitions, EBC regrets the absence of buildings and built environment-focused discussions in the programme, disappointment brought up with the organisers prior to the organisation of the event. This is especially deplorable this year, given the rising importance of the energy efficiency of buildings to tackle Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

To find out more about the SME Assembly 2022, visit the Promoting Enterprise news portal