Enterprise policy and tourism
Euro Info Centres
of information and advisory centres for enterprises
"Euro Info Centre Network"
Euro Info Centres Enterprise (working document) COM
(87) 152 final of 7/4/87.
Report of the Commission to the Council on the achievement
of the objectives of the Programme of Actions for SMEs - COM (87) 238 final of
23/6/87 - COM (88) 64 final.
Euro Info Centres - extension of project - Communication
of the Commission - COM (88) 161 final of 30/3/88.
Multi-annual programme in
favour of SMEs (1997-2000). Com (96) 98 final of 20.03.1996
the Commission : Challenges for enterprise policy in the knowledge-driven economy
Proposal for a Council Decision on a multiannual Programme for Enterprise and
Entrepreneurship (2001-2005)Document COM(2000)256 final of 26.04.2000
As part of the
measures to favour the growth and competitiveness of enterprises, the Euro Info
Centre network was set up in 1987 by the European Commission.
is linked to a double observation:
European-oriented information centres, the Euro Info
Centres (EICs), are the natural partners of small and medium-sized enterprises
wanting to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the large European market.
Organized in a network, they are present in all Member States; their dynamic and
decentralized approach makes it possible to meet in an adapted manner the needs
expressed by SMEs. The network currently covers 37 countries and comprises 273
EICs with 53 EICs in EEA countries and CEEC pre-accession countries and 12 Correspondence
Centres (EICCs) in other European and Mediterranean countries. The latter are
set up in priority areas defined by the Council, notably the Mediterranean basin.
The EICCs act as a link between European SMEs and the SMEs of third countries.
- the importance of SMEs in the economic
activity of the European Union;
- the existence of obstacles to their development
in the single market.
addition, 41 European or National professional organisations participate in the
network as associated members.
The mission of Euro Info Centres is to:
- inform enterprises by offering them expertise on Community matters and
- assist SMEs by having them benefit from the regular contacts
that EICs have with the European Commission and the network as a whole;
the enterprises in their activities abroad by providing know-how before and after
- provide feedback to the European Commission on the concerns and
interests of SMEs and on the impact of programmes and legislation.
The SMEs of the countries where EICs are implemented
the entire Union, Iceland and Norway as part of the European Economic Area and
CEEC pre-adhesion countries.
EICC: third countries which so request.
Euro Info Centres have been established in various host
structures selected in close collaboration between their national authorities
and the European Commission. Chambers of Commerce, regional development organizations,
professional and interprofessional associations, industrial associations, chambers
of trades and crafts, banks, etc. - this diversity constitutes the network's strength.
Because each member has access to the expertise of the others, exchanges of experience
enable most economic sectors to be covered. The strength of the EIC network is
essentially based on contacts. To ensure their mission of support for SMEs, the
Euro Info Centres maintain close relations with their many partners.
Nature of activities
The services provided by the EICs are a matter
of priority for small and medium-sized enterprises. There are three main types:
1. Dissemination of information
- targeted dissemination
of information and information watches on European programmes;
- seminars and
conferences adapted to the regional economic fabric of enterprises;
on European regulations (adopted or being adopted) and on legal or economic data
in Member States;
- availability of general information: articles, newsletters,
electronic mail, databases, various publications, etc.
3. Organization of partnerships between SMEs
- preparation of offers;
- funding research
implementation of European policies such as the euro or standardisation
with institutions in target countries;
- access to European public contracts.
- Enterprise and Europartenariat events;
- international cooperation missions;
- assistance for SMEs in their search for partners in other countries.
supporting SMEs, LEADER II local action groups and community operators are among
the potential beneficiaries of the EIC action.
European Union financial support
The Euro Info Centre network is an
initiative of the European Union supported by the Enterprise Directorate General
(DG ENTR) of the European Commission - Directorate B: Promotion of Entrepreneurship
Each EIC is linked by a contract signed by its host structure and
DGENTR. This contract defines:
- the EIC's mission;
- its obligations
which include submitting information on its activities via an electronic reporting
mechanism and an annual financial statement;
- its access to DG ENTR's support
services such as training, information services, documentation and technical support.
EICs receive an annual financial contribution of EUR 25,000 from DG ENTR whose
payment is made conditional on the scrupulous observance of the contractual obligations.
ENTR has also made available to the network's members a computer system (electronic
mail, transfer of files, conferences) which links them to one another.
it stimulates the network effect during various events (working groups, training
sessions, monitoring, annual conference).
Finally the EICs have developed specializations
with the support of DG ENTR and the DGs concerned. Working groups have been set
up to carry out joint activities, to provide services to the EIC network such
as decentralised training and to provide feedback to the Commission in various
fields, public procurement, Information society and electronic commerce, R&D,
external relations, environment, etc. These groups also provide a forum for preparing
specialised and targeted information products for SMEs.
- Publications (web sites, info sheets, brochures,
questionnaires) aimed at encouraging local enterprises to become interested in
European topics (all Community languages).
- Newsletter "Entreprise
Europe", available in the 11 Community langauges, in PDF format on : http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/library/library.htm
More information on the EIC network's geographical coverage, organisation, tasks,
expertise and activities can be found under the following addresses:
Internet site Dialogue with Business contains information for businesses on the
single market and the EU. It also provides you with an email link to the EIC of
Information offices or additional sources of information
Mr Jacques McMillan
DG XXIII / B2
Rue de la Loi, 200
F.: + 32 2 295 5540