Live from Brussels – Issue 114
In its recent publication of statistics, Eurostat confirmed that hospitality businesses are still paying the costs of the pandemic. Compared to the last quarter of 2019 the number of bankruptcies in the accommodation and food services sector in Q4 2022 increased by 97.7%.
Despite the very positive data on tourism recovery in 2022 published by the European Travel Commission, we need to remain wary and support hospitality SMEs. Considering shortages in labour forces, inflation and energy prices being high, many SMEs are still vulnerable.
These issues were at the centre of our discussion with the two co-chairs of the SME intergroup of the European Parliament: MEPs Martina Dlabajová and Angelika Winzig. We thank them for continuing to support SMEs in our sector, which constitute the backbone of the European economy.
We are glad to see that the European Commission is also taking its part in rebuilding SMEs by putting forward the SME Relief Package announced last September by President von der Leyen during her State of the Union address.
As highlighted by Commissioner Breton last November during the SME assembly in Prague the package is composed of two main features: combatting late payments and making it easier to do business. Multiple elements are considered to enter this package and we, at HOTREC, would like to integrate the following:
- Relieving SMEs from the administrative burden they face by limiting the implementation of new rules. The latter should be predictable and proportional for entrepreneurs.
- Supporting SMEs through their digital and green transition by helping them secure financing: both through bank loans and private/public investors and accessing funding from the European Union.
- Assisting companies in difficulties, especially entrepreneurs facing bankruptcy.
The other major issue faced by SMEs today is the need to attract staff and help them up-skill and re-skill. I was glad to contribute to a cross-sectoral approach on Overcoming labour & supply chain shortages in Europe. The report was conducted by the European Movement International and sponsored by METRO.
We discussed policy recommendations on labour shortages, especially in the context of the double transition, green and digital. Changing mindsets to establish a culture of lifelong learning, ensuring a better matching between workers and jobs, and enhancing job attractiveness to lead to better work retention were the key propositions we came up with. This issue is one of the examples that demonstrate the need to further strengthen and promote the crucial role of the sectorial social dialogue.
In other news, we are currently putting the hospitality SMEs’ needs and priorities forward in the latest negotiations at the European level on Short-Term rentals, Energy Performance of Buildings and Packaging and Packaging Waste.
We will discuss all these issues and more during our next General Assembly in late April. We look forward to welcoming our members to Costa Adeje on the island of Tenerife.
Stay tuned and enjoy your reading!