On Wednesday 1 June, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on EU support to make SMEs more competitive and fit for the future.
ABOUT THE TOPIC
In 2018, there were over 20 million businesses in the current EU Member States. Almost all of them had fewer than 250 staff members and were classified as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Around 93 % of them had fewer than 10 employees. SMEs are an important source of jobs and economic growth in the EU.
The European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) is one of the largest sources of EU funding to support SMEs. One of its focus areas is on funding measures to improve business competitiveness. During the 2014-2020 period, €54.4 billion in ERDF funding was allocated to SME-related measures, including more than €40 billion allocated specifically to improving the competitiveness of SMEs.
ABOUT THE AUDIT
The audit examines the ERDF’s contribution to addressing SMEs’ needs and enhancing their competitiveness. The auditors assessed programmes in Germany, Italy, Poland and Portugal. They analysed the effect that ERDF funding had had on SMEs in terms of their operations, their market position, their propensity to trade across borders, their financial situation, and their capacity to innovate.
Given the economic relevance of SMEs to the EU economy and the amounts of ERDF support involved, this audit report has the potential to help the European Commission and Member States make better use of ERDF funding to increase SME competitiveness in the 2021-2027 period.
For interviews, statements and media queries, please contact the ECA press office at
The report and press release will be published on the ECA website eca.europa.eu at 5.00 p.m. CET on Wednesday 1 June.
The ECA member responsible for this report is Pietro Russo.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs its audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.