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EU Needs More SMEs, EU Commission Official Says

Ljubljana, 12 November (STA) - Head of the EU Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General Daniel Calleja Crespo told the press in Ljubljana on Tuesday that Europe needs more small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which form the backbone of the EU economy. Europe will overcome the crisis with the help to SMEs and innovators, Caleja Crespo said.

Caleja Crespo is visiting Slovenia as part of the two-day Slovenian Innovation Forum, which was opened today, and to present new financial instruments which will be established by the EU as part of the 2014-2020 financial perspective.

The official said that SMEs made up more than 99% of all companies in Europe, and that they were a generator of jobs. Nine out of ten new jobs in Europe in the last five years were generated by SMEs.

Caleja Crespo said that if every SME in Europe employed one unemployed person, the unemployment problem in Europe would be eliminated. "This is why we need to strongly support SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators."

According to him, the new financial perspective of the EU will support innovation, SMEs, employment and growth.

The EU's agenda until 2020 promotes smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, Caleja Crespo, adding that the Commission will in the future present a number of instruments, including loan guarantees, venture capital and incentives for innovation, to implement it.

Energy efficiency projects will be given special attention in the new financial perspective, and they will be eligible for various sources of financing. "The green economy is not a threat, it is an opportunity."

Head of the SPIRIT investment and tourism promotion agency Boštjan Skalar meanwhile expressed hope that innovative Slovenian companies will expand beyond Europe, with which they will also help to promote Slovenia.

Skalar is convinced that Slovenia will boost entrepreneurship as part of efforts to overcome the problems brought by the economic crisis. "Slovenia is innovative, green and technologically advanced," he said.

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