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Fitzgerald calls for better supports for Irish SMEs in Europe

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Friday 24th March 2023

Fitzgerald calls for better supports for Irish SMEs in Europe

MEP for Dublin hosts event to mark 30 years of the EU Single Market

MEP for Dublin, Frances Fitzgerald, has called on EU institutions to be more effective at helping small and medium businesses in Ireland and across the EU to grow, compete, and take full advantage of the opportunities of the Single Market. Frances today hosted a high-level seminar for SMEs and entrepreneurs in Dublin focusing on the opportunities and supports available to Irish SMEs trading within the single market.

The seminar brought together key stakeholders from government, the business community and state agencies.

Speaking at the seminar in Europe House this morning MEP Fitzgerald said, “Over 30 years, the Single Market has led to an unprecedented market integration between Member States' economies, serving as a driver for growth and competitiveness and supporting Europe’s economic and political power at a global level. It also played a key role in accelerating the economic development of Ireland’s economy, removing barriers to entry and boosting growth.

“However, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that Irish businesses and SMEs get the most benefit possible from the EU single market. If we want to be able to respond to economic pressures from the USA and China, we must focus on competitiveness and growth, particularly for our SMEs. More needs to be done to improve SME trading opportunities within the Single Market, to improve awareness of existing opportunities, and to boost investment and support programmes to assist SME with their trading activities.

“Multinationals based in Ireland have been able to take full advantage of the Single Market on Ireland’s doorstep, and this is a good thing, yet smaller and medium Irish enterprises have yet to unlock the full untapped potential on offer. Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economies. They must not be left behind and the EU institutions need to become much more attentive to their needs.”

Addressing delegates, Minister of state Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said, “Reflecting back over thirty years, we can really appreciate the role that the Single Market has played in Ireland’s move to an open, outward-looking economy and peaceful society. It has been so positive to see and experience the transformative impact that the Single Market has had for women by giving us better opportunity and choice to participate fully in the workforce – either through direct employment or by starting our own business.

During this time Irish businesses have been enabled to grow and trade in new markets as well as to remain resilient during economic shocks. The Single Market has also served as an important platform for businesses to work in partnership across the EU, enabling them to share skills and knowledge.

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said, “I believe that now, more than ever before, we have an opportunity to champion the Single Market. Enterprise Ireland, through our 13 offices across the European Union, is working to increase Irish business’ understanding of the market and to position growth in the EU as a key opportunity for our clients. Ambitious Irish companies with a focus on innovation, collaboration and co-operation have a huge amount to contribute to a vibrant Single Market.”

Susan McGarry Managing Director of Ecocem said, “Access to the single market is vital to Ecocem’s continued growth. We are active in over 10 different member states in terms of production and sales and we have attracted some the best talent in the Europe to our team. The collaboration we are involved in on research and innovation across Europe is integral to developing solutions which can decarbonise the cement industry and deliver a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.”

Aongus Hegarty, President of International Markets, Dell Technologies said: “The Single Market has been transformative for business. Removing barriers to trade and unlocking access to a market of over 450m consumers has not only helped Irish businesses to scale up internationally, but it has also allowed Ireland to become a hub for multinationals like Dell Technologies. Today’s seminar places an important spotlight on the benefits of the Single Market and its future.”

Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of ISME said, “While Ireland’s economic figures continue to perform at the top of the class, as a small open economy we remain exposed to the fates of our trading partners. We have witnessed a “perma-crisis” since 2019, from UK withdrawal from the EU to global pandemic, to Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now the threat of a US recession. In ISME’s view, our best bulwark against a turbulent international environment is a strong and expanding indigenous enterprise sector. We think this is a really good time to reappraise Ireland’s industrial policy and encourage new global champions from our domestic enterprise base.”



Conor Glynn



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