The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) delivered the message that the EU is good for business, but needs more flexibility in the future at the European Parliament today (13 February). At the launch of its European election manifesto, the FSB will highlight how UK firms have benefited from the lifting of trade barriers and free movement of goods and services that stem from the creation of the Single Market. However, the FSB believes the EU needs reform for UK businesses to compete in a global market.
The FSB will be at the heart of the debate to ensure EU policymakers think about the impact on business growth from new legislation. New proposals must pass the ‘Think Small First’ test from the outset. That way the full benefits of the Single Market and EU membership can be delivered and demonstrated to UK small businesses, many of whom are only just recovering from the recession.
The manifesto sets out what small businesses want candidates to do if elected in three months’ time. FSB members want the next Parliament of the European Union to:
- ‘Think Small First’ throughout the whole policy cycle by breaking down barriers in the Single Market and reducing the effects of burdensome laws on the smallest businesses.
- Give small firms the best chance to be successful by creating a culture of entrepreneurship.
- Ensure important trade deals like the upcoming EU-US negotiations support the growth aspirations of small firms.
FSB National Policy Chairman Mike Cherry said: “We want to see the next Parliament of the European Union champion small businesses. UK firms have benefited from the lifting of trade barriers and the free movement of goods and services that stem from the creation of the Single Market. However, the EU needs to reform further to ensure our businesses are able compete with emerging powers in today’s global economy.
“We want to see measures to accelerate the completion of the Single Market and a more flexible, proportionate approach taken towards regulation that hits small firms hardest, and is often cited by FSB members as a key concern affecting their growth aspirations.”
Kris Peeters appointed as new Vice-President of the European Investment Bank
Kris Peeters has been appointed Vice-President and Member of the Management Committee of the European Investment Bank (EIB). He takes up his duties today, assuming the Benelux seat on the EIB’s Management Committee.
The EIB’s Board of Governors appointed Mr Peeters, a Belgian national, on a proposal from the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and with the agreement of the EIB-shareholder constituency the country shares with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Upon joining the EIB, Kris Peeters remarked: “I am very honoured to join the European Investment Bank, the EU’s Bank, especially at a moment when the Bank accelerates the deployment of its efforts in climate change mitigation. Clearly, this engagement is there to stay and I am looking forward to making a difference with the team at the helm of the EU’s Climate Bank. In doing so I will pay special attention to mobility, a field in which significant and innovative changes are ahead of us, while also closely following security and defence, as well as operations in the ASEAN countries. I am also delighted that I can contribute to the recovery efforts of the Bank in tackling the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic across Europe.”
Until his nomination as Vice-President, Mr Peeters served as Member of the European Parliament since 2019. Mr Peeters has a long-standing political career, starting in 2004, when he became Flemish Minister for Public Works, Energy, the Environment and Nature. Subsequently he was Minister-President of Flanders from 2007 until 2014, and was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Employment in the Belgian federal government of Prime Minister Charles Michel (2014-2019). Prior to his political career, Mr Peeters held leading roles at UNIZO, the Union of Self-employed Entrepreneurs and SMEs (1991-2004). Mr Peeters studied philosophy and law at Antwerp University and obtained a degree in taxation and accounting at the Vlerick Business School Ghent.
The Management Committee is the EIB’s permanent collegiate executive body, consisting of a President and eight Vice-Presidents. The members of the Management Committee are appointed by the Board of Governors – the economy and finance ministers of the 27 EU Member States.
Under the authority of Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, the Management Committee collectively oversees the day-to-day running of the EIB as well as preparing and ensuring the implementation of the Board of Directors' decisions, notably regarding borrowing and lending operations.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
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Commission approves €120 million Greek support to compensate Aegean Airlines for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has found a Greek grant of €120 million to Aegean Airlines to be in line with EU state aid rules. The measure aims at compensating the airline for the losses directly caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions imposed by Greece and other destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Greece notified to the Commission an aid measure to compensate Aegean Airlines for the damage suffered from 23 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 resulting from the containment measures and travel restrictions introduced by Greece and other destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The support will take the form of a €120 million direct grant, which does not exceed the estimated damage directly caused to the airline in that period.
The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by member states to compensate specific companies or sectors for damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences. The Commission found that the Greek measure will compensate the damage suffered by Aegean Airlines that is directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the aid does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage.
On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Greek damage compensation measure is in line with EU state aid rules. Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The aviation industry is one of the sectors that has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak. This measure will enable Greece to compensate Aegean Airlines for the damage directly suffered due to the travel restrictions necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus. We continue working with member states to find workable solutions to support companies in these difficult times, in line with EU rules.”
The full press release is available online.
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