German government urged to take actions to support SMEs

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-24 21:55:34|Editor: xuxin
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BERLIN, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) have called for a national governmental strategy to support small and medium sized companies (SMEs) on Monday.

In a joint position paper, the industry and employers' associations are demanding support from the German government for SMEs in seven key areas such as energy, tax laws and European policy.

Among other things, BDI and BDA want energy costs for small and medium-sized companies to be limited. SMEs would only "rarely" be exempted from the so-called EEG levy, which finances the expansion of renewable energies in Germany.

"The German government sends signals to small and medium-sized companies as well as family businesses that we are not completely forgotten," said Hans-Toni Junius, chairman of the SME committee of BDI and BDA.

However, these signals would only be "announcements", criticized Junius, adding that it would be disappointing that the German government has not managed to develop a "viable" SME strategy in almost 500 days of government.

The German government is planning to phase out its coal-fired power generation by 2038 and to expand its renewable energy sources like wind and water power. "The politically driven rise in electricity prices" would damage German SMEs in particular, according to BDI.

In addition, the two associations called on the German government to reduce taxes for SMEs. It would be "high time" to reform Germany's corporate tax law in order to reduce the financial burdens on SMEs to a maximum of 25 percent.

Bureaucracy should also be reduced for SMEs, as it would bind capacities that would "ultimately be lacking for innovation, growth and jobs", according to the two economic associations.

Since almost 90 percent of Germany's SMEs would be "directly or indirectly" be operating in the export sector, BDI and BDA demanded the German government to focus on the economic and social value of SMEs during the German presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020.

For a long time, economic associations in Germany have been criticizing Economic Minister Peter Altmaier for not doing enough for small and medium-sized companies. Already in October last year, BDI showed its "disappointment" over Altmaier's missing strategy for SME's.

In an interview in March 2018, shortly after taking office as Germany's minister for economics, Altmaier described himself as a "minister for SMEs". In practice, however, Altmaier's words would not have been followed by actions, according to the BDI.

"Mere confessions alone are not enough," stressed SME committee chairman Junius from BDI and BDA back in October.