Entrepreneurship and skills for a fair, green and digital recovery

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A fair and inclusive recovery must place social rights at its core and re-evaluate the current social contract to best assess what is needed in post-lockdown Europe. The 2021 launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) Action Plan is the clear signal that the EU places the elements of inclusiveness and fairness at the core of Europe’s economic recovery. At the centre of these efforts are SMEs, who are more than just engines of local jobs and services; they are key to Europe’s economic development and social progress. Achieving the 2030 EPSR Action Plan and the recovery targets will require tight collaboration with and support of SMEs, representing the overwhelming majority of businesses and a key vehicle to trigger a lasting change to a fairer, greener, digital EU.

Last year, governments across the EU quickly introduced support measures, largely aimed at giving SMEs liquidity to withstand the immediate COVID-19 crisis. To sustain future success, this support must also extend to skills, training, access to finance, support for fair conditions and the right regulatory environment for growth. With 60% of SMEs reporting a fall in turnover in 2020 and 1.4 million jobs lost, ensuring they get back on track will require a carefully thought through plan.

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