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SMEs vital to life of communities in Europe

Speaking today in the context of the SME Assembly being held in Slovenia, Véronique Willems, Secretary-General of SMEunited and Christel Delberghe, Director General of EuroCommerce underlined the role of SMEs as the backbone of vibrant town centres and rural communities, made a joint call for action to address the challenges facing small businesses and the communities they serve:

We have worked together for many years to highlight the importance of SMEs, making up 99,8% of enterprises in Europe, including in retail and wholesale. In cooperating today at a dedicated session on urban rejuvenation at the SME Assembly we aim to underline the difficulties faced by SMEs operating in town centres and look for action to help both businesses and local communities to maintain and build up lively town centres.

Town centres have seen increasing numbers of vacant shops and commercial premises, reflecting many factors and changes in the way people live. People in rural communities suffer if local services disappear. The COVID pandemic and the restrictions adopted to combat it have accelerated thisnegative trend, seeing shops, restaurants and other businesses close for good.

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High-level conference on the European retail sector - 19 JUN 2019

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