First and foremost Brussels Economic Forum 2016, which was held on the 5th of June, was about the necessity of fast implementation of deep reforms of European economy. As President of ECB, Mario Draghi clearly put it “The cost of delay (reforms – ed.) is simply too high”. Anything that could be done on the financial side to provide stimulus for the reforms’ development has been done and already is bringing first good results. But monetary policy does not “exist in the vacuum”, reminded the President of ECB Mario Draghi. In his remarkable speech on the Forum he clearly pointed to the policies’ interactions as a leading factor in stabilizing the whole economy. If EU fiscal policy will not drive the aggregate demand in the same direction as a monetary policy does than no movement ahead towards the economy development will happen. Being contradictory for the past few years the fiscal policy, on his opinion, resulted in shifting the task of “macroeconomic stabilization” to monetary policy which in turn significantly delayed the restitution and further growth of the output.
To drive the economic reforms in EU towards the output growth, jobs creation and productivity growth, the famous Juncker Investment Plan for Europe was adopted in 2014 with the ambitious aim to inject about 315 Billion Euros of investments in the EU economy. In his speech Vice-President of EC Jyrki Katainen focused on the existing obstacles to the Plan implementation, considering them as new directions for further reforms. He indicated that lots of existing obstacles both on the macro – and micro levels currently interfere with the effective Plan implementation. Underdeveloped commodity markets, some weak national fiscal policies, problems with labor markets and outdated welfare systems – these are just few of the major structural weaknesses of European economies that chain further business development. These and other obstacles should be removed to boost the European output and productivity growth. One of the major roles in this process traditionally has belonged in Europe to the Small and Medium Enterprises.
While some positive results in the development of SMEs progress can be reported, declared President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Werner Hoyer, still there is a long way to go ahead to achieve a real success. As a major engine for the successful SME expansion in Europe Mr. Hoyer quoted the “revolutionary idea” of Juncker to transform 16 Billion euro from EC grants into loans lent by the EIB to SMEs and other businesses. Evaluating the development of this idea, Mr. Hoyer indicated that “SMEs have already reached 65 per cent of their three-year budget,” and he expects more and more projects to come and be approved. Since his first days (in 2012) as a President of EIB Mr. Hoyer has proved himself as a strong supporter of SME considering them as the” backbone of growth, innovation and employment in Europe”. So he does now, by stressing that EIB is ready to assist SME and he still expects more and more projects with the “real European flavor’.
The whole idea and spirit of this representative forum unveil the major concerns and current trends of the European reforms development in the times when the monetary framework of the reform has been ready to assist them. It is next to impossible to prioritize the most important directions of the current European development – they all are equally critical as can be successfully implemented only in a concert. So still what we would like to stress is the common acknowledgement by all the participants of the major role that SME play and should increasingly play in the future with the strong support and guarantees of the European Commission. There are few VC funds operating on the European arena. To boost the innovations development and pace of their implementation the European Commission, as it was declared by Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, is planning “to establish a new venture capital fund of funds which is bigger than the ones we have at our disposal at the moment”.