Christine Lagarde: The coronavirus crisis and SMEs

Speech by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at the "Jahresimpuls Mittelstand 2021" of Bundesverband Mittelständische Wirtschaft, Frankfurt am Main, 1 March 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
03 March 2021

It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you today.

At the ECB we care deeply about connecting with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), since they are the foundation of the European economy.

SMEs make up 99.8% of all non-financial companies in the EU, provide 66.6% of jobs and generate 56.4% of added value. It is decisions by companies like yours to invest, hire and innovate that put the European economy on a path to growth.

But in Germany, being part of the Mittelstand has a special quality that is about much more than the firm's size. It is about the philosophy of how to do business and the spirit of management. As Ludwig Erhard said, what defines the Mittelstand is "eine Gesinnung und eine Haltung", how one acts and behaves in society.