Promoting the European Neighbourhood
The European Commission has stakes and commitments close to home under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which includes the Union for the Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership. Action Plans have been agreed with ENP partner countries that involve significant work in areas such as enterprise policy and technical regulations and standards. Several neighbour countries have also adopted reference documents inspired by the Small Business Act, to stimulate entrepreneurship and favourable business conditions to create growth and jobs.
With Mediterranean partner countries, DG Enterprise and Industry exchanges information regarding know-how and good practice, and enterprise and industrial policies and programmes. Priority work areas are defined by the EuroMed Ministers for Industry. They include investment promotion, innovation, and sustainable industrial development. A key reference document to progress in these areas and to guide the reforms is the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise. Further work areas include a dialogue on the future of the textiles and clothing sector and trade facilitation for industrial products.
The Commission is engaged with all Mediterranean partner countries and Ukraine in preparatory work for so-called Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAAs). The partner countries are adapting to the EU acquis their quality system, legislation and standards in priority industrial sectors where the legislation is harmonised at the EU level, as well as their entities dealing with standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment, metrology and market surveillance.
As part of the Eastern Partnership, the Commission is engaged with some Eastern European countries in advising and monitoring their adoption of EU acquis in the areas of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment in the framework of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) component of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in preparation. DG Enterprise and Industry leads the work on Economic Integration and Convergence with EU Policies. In this context, the EU is developing a project for SME Policy assessment based on the principles of the "Small Business Act" (SBA) for Europe following the example of the work with the Western Balkans and Turkey and with the Mediterranean partner countries.
Ways are also being explored to improve the business environment for SMEs through the cooperation and exchanges of good practices on enterprise policies.