The co-chairs of the EPP Group SME Circle, Henna Virkkunen MEP and Jens Gieseke MEP, have called on the European Commission to end the ambiguities and obscurities when nominating an SME Envoy.
“Stop shooting yourselves in the foot”, warned the MEPs shortly after they tabled a Parliamentary Question to the European Commission demanding accountability and transparency with regard to the appointment, which is one and a half years in the making, seemingly, with no end in sight.
On 5 May 2021, the European Commission announced that it nominated Vazil Hudák as the EU SME Envoy with no further details of his mandate. Just two days after the Commission’s announcement, news reports surfaced in the media that Hudák has also been appointed by the Prime Minister of Georgia as its new special advisor for foreign investments. The EPP Group would like to know whether Hudák’s nomination as SME Envoy is on a part-time basis.
In the Parliamentary Question, the MEPs ask whether the European Commission intends to engage someone on a full-time basis, whether the SME Envoy will have horizontal competences in all relevant Directorates-General with a meaningful role in the Commission's legislative process, and whether the SME Envoy will occupy a horizontal position in the Commission President's cabinet.
“It is of paramount importance that the European Commission equips the designated SME Envoy with the appropriate horizontal competencies in all the relevant Directorates-General and that the Envoy is attached to the cabinet of the President of the Commission. Therefore, we urge the Commission to provide further information as soon as possible. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, access to finance is not the only problem SMEs face. The expected bureaucratic burden coming from sustainable reporting standards and due diligence obligations, let alone the challenges and opportunities arising from the digital and green transitions, need to be addressed from a high-level position within the legislative procedure and during the impact assessment of upcoming legislation. We need clarity about the Commission’s intentions", Virkkunen and Gieseke said.
“This is, after all, a public appointment, paid for with taxpayers’ money. These are all pertinent questions. However, the most important question is when is the European Commission going to finally appoint this Envoy? Why is it taking so long? It seems that this nomination is not being given the urgency it deserves", concluded the two MEPs.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States