European Infrastructures: Development and Long-Term Benefits for SMEs
Thursday, July 7th, 2016
The EU Single Market and the related freedom of movements of good and people allow EU Member States to connect with each other easily. The streamlining of national legislations connected to commercial issues has helped the process. These are, however, just the legal enablers of connectivity. Even with the complete freedom to connect, European countries need to also have the practical possibility to do so. Their infrastructures in transports, communication and energy need to work together to allow citizens and businesses to fully benefit from their freedom of movement without practical costs and obstacles making it too cumbersome.
The varied history of infrastructure development in different EU Member States makes this point a good goal but not a current reality. Some infrastructures in Europe are old and need to be renewed to make it compatible with newer technologies deployed in other EU countries. In other cases, even newer plants and apparatuses need retrofitting to work most efficiently with similar equipment on the other side of a national border. Just to give an example, sometimes, after crossing the border, goods have to be moved from a type of transportation to another as the initial means of transport cannot circulate on the allocated infrastructure due to technical limitations. This fragmented network brings huge costs to citizens and businesses, which have to pay for the additional steps to deliver energy, communications and goods across borders.
The European Union has placed an high priority to fix this problem. As a part of the EU’s financial and political planning for then next seven year, the Connecting Europe Facility program has allocated funds to sponsor projects that develop and renew infrastructures in transport, energy and IT to make the European network fully compatible and designed to the most modern standards. This program can deliver great outcomes benefiting SMEs, as it’s becoming easier and cheaper by the day to do cross-border trade in the EU.
Of course SMEs also need to grow their international networks to seize the tangible opportunity to exploit the European infrastructural development and do new business. The first step they can take is to join the MobiliseSME program to get in touch with counterparts in other EU countries. They can take our survey, open only for a few more days, to book their place in the coming pilot scheme for cross-border exchanges of staff starting at the end of the year.