Speaking during the European Commission's SME Week, Roubaud argued that while some countries such as France have introduced new rules on delayed payments, others are trailing far behind.
He believes that a new body is required to solve this problem, "an independent entity responsible for recuperating the indemnities and recovery costs" accrued by SMEs due to delayed payments.
He also believes SMEs should be given priority access to public contracts, and as a follow-up measure, all "public sellers for government tenders – communes, states, etc. – produce an annual account, in a report, of the number of orders entrusted to SMEs".
The CGPME president recommended a number of policies that he believes will improve the lot of European SMEs. First and foremost, he called for "real action" on the Think Small First principle [the principle that requires new legislation to take SMEs' interests into account at the very early stages of policymaking].
Roubaud also argued for a single EU Community patent, and believes it is necessary to simplify access to European programmes for SMEs. "There is a flagrant lack of participation by small enterprises in the Research and Development Framework Programme (RDFP)," he said, stressing that the incoming European Parliament and Commission have a real opportunity to bring in these and other key policies.
For example, he believes governments should adopt the European Private Company statute, "which needs to be open to all kinds of enterprises, including those who do not export".
Likewise, "the European Parliament could also produce a report on the implementation of SBA [Small Business Act] recommendations. In doing so, MEPs would make sure that the Commission and member states respect the commitments they have made in this direction".
Finally, he raised the controversial issue of harmonising European tax systems. "The common consolidated corporate tax base" needs to be on the agenda of the next mandate, he said.