European Commission - Enterprise and Industry

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Commission wants to simplify life for SMEs by easing the top 10 most burdensome EU laws Offentliggjort den: 07/03/2013, Seneste opdatering: 03/04/2013

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SMEs which are creating the lion’s share of all new jobs in Europe are the key to get out of this crisis. Our legislation needs to be designed with SMEs (and especially new entrepreneurs) in mind: it must be smart, it must be simple and it must be stable. The better we listen to SMEs concerns, the better they can help us to return to growth.

In a broad consultation initiated by the Commission, around 1000 SMEs and business organisations have now identified the top 10 most burdensome EU laws.

The 20.8 million European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) create 85% of all new jobs in Europe, they employ 2/3 of the workforce in the EU and they contribute significantly to innovation and growth. Following the principle "think small first", and in line with the Small Business Act of 2008, the Commission has put SMEs at the heart of its smart regulation agenda to help growth and job creation in Europe. In a broad consultation initiated by the Commission, around 1000 SMEs and business organisations have now identified the top 10 most burdensome EU laws. The purpose of this broad consultation was to check where EU regulation might be impeding jobs and growth and to identify areas or issues which would require further examination and action where necessary. The result published today indicates that SMEs see the biggest difficulties and costs as a consequence of the rules regarding the REACH chemical legislation, value added tax, product safety, recognition of professional qualifications, data protection, waste legislation, labour market related legislation, recording equipment for road transport, public procurement and the modernised customs code.

The following EU laws have been identified by SMEs as the TOP 10 most burdensome EU laws:

  • REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)
  • VAT - Value added tax legislation
  • General Product Safety
  • Recognition of professional qualifications 
  • Shipments of waste - Waste framework legislation - List of waste and hazardous waste
  • Labour market-related legislation
  • Data protection
  • Working time
  • Recording equipment in road transport (for driving and rest periods)
  • Procedures for the award of public contracts (public works, supply and service contracts)
  • Modernised customs code

In many of these areas (e.g. professional qualifications, data protection, procurement, etc.) the Commission has already taken action to further improve and simplify EU legislation (see MEMO/12/974).

The consultation also reveals that small businesses appreciate reduced payment deadlines under the Late Payments Directive entering into force on 16 March 2013 (IP/12/1071) as one of the most successful legal improvements, together with allowing more SMEs to benefit from simplified accounting/auditing regimes.

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SMEs which are creating the lion’s share of all new jobs in Europe are the key to get out of this crisis. Our legislation needs to be designed with SMEs (and especially new entrepreneurs) in mind: it must be smart, it must be simple and it must be stable. The better we listen to SMEs concerns, the better they can help us to return to growth.