SP: Christian Democrats and Labour show indifference to small firms' interests as they delay vote in European Parliament

24 February 2010

SP: Christian Democrats and Labour show indifference to small firms' interests as they delay vote in European Parliament

The social democrats and Christian democrats, the centre-left and centre-right blocs which constitute the European Parliament's two biggest groups, today voted to delay until March a vote on a proposal from the European Commission on whether to abolish the requirement that small businesses lodge their annual reports with the Chamber of Commerce. Dennis de Jong, SP European Parliamentary group chair, was critical. "These parties have no sense of urgency. Small businesses have, as a result of the economic crisis, already enough difficulty arranging loans for desperately needed investments. If the annual report isn't accessible more rapidly for, for example, credit insurers, it will become even more difficult for firms to access the necessary credit. This proposal should be rejected as quickly as possible."

Less bureaucracy

TDennis de Jonghe SP in the European Parliament wants to see the obligatory deposition of the annual report for small firms maintained. The deposition of the year's figures helps credit insurers and others to assess with greater certainty the financial situation of small businesses, while providing an insight into the annual accounts involves no additional burden for the companies themselves. These figures must after all be lodged with the tax authorities and can be sent to the Chamber of Commerce at the same time. The proposal from the European Commission to abolish the obligation to do so in the case of small businesses thus does nothing to reduce the bureaucratic rigmarole for these firms. "Reducing bureaucracy is a good idea," says De Jong, "but the European Commission should direct its attention towards the enormous bureaucracy involved in compulsory tendering. That's something which really ought to be improved. The current regulations favour big corporations, as well."

Social Democrats divided

The postponement of the vote was requested by the social democrats as their group remains divided on the issue, a division which De Jong sees as typical. "All of the relevant information is known. Credit advisors, lenders and credit insurers are against the proposal as are the small and medium- sized enterprises who are members of the Dutch organisation MKB-NL (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – Netherlands) and the European umbrella group UEAPME (European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). Now it's time the social democrats in the European Parliament to be explicit about their position and as quickly as possible put an end to the disquiet which is afflicting the credit market as a result of the Commission's proposal."

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