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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The European Charter for Small Enterprises

The European Charter for Small Enterprises, a self-commitment from the Member States to improve the business environment for small enterprises, was approved by EU leaders at the Feira European Council on 19-20 June 2000.

Under the Charter, Member States and the Commission took action to support small enterprises in ten key policy areas:

  • Education and training for entrepreneurship;
  • Cheaper and faster start-up;
  • Better legislation and regulation;
  • Availability of skills;
  • Improving online access;
  • Getting more out of the Single Market;
  • Taxation and financial matters;
  • Strengthening the technological capacity of small enterprises;
  • Making use of successful e-business models and developing top-class small business support;
  • Developing stronger, more effective representation of small enterprises’ interests at Union and national level.

Activities and progress in these areas was documented until 2005 in the annual Charter Reports. While in 2006, reporting on the Charter was integrated in the Lisbon Reporting, the exchange of Good practices on SME policy under the Charter continued with an ever-increasing participation from Member States.

The main instrument to discuss the good practices were the annual Charter conferences, co-organised from the European Commission together with the respective Council Presidency. The conference attracted each year more than 350 policy makers and business organisations from more than 40 countries.

With the Small Business Act as the new framework for SME policy in place, the good practice exchange and the respective conference will continue from 2009 on under the Small Business Act.

2009 Conference: From the European Charter for Small Enterprises to the Small Business Act - Stockholm

The conference "From the European Charter for Small Enterprises to the Small Business Act" will take place from 5-6 October 2009 in the conference centre "InfraCity" near Stockholm, Sweden.

2009 Good Practice Selection

  • 2009 Good Practice Selection pdf - 1004 KB [1004 KB] čeština (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti keel (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) français (fr) italiano (it) latviešu valoda (lv) lietuvių kalba (lt) magyar (hu) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv)

2008 Good Practice Selection

The reporting on the Member States' activities in the context of the European Charter for Small Enterprises has been integrated into the reporting on the renewed Lisbon strategy. The National Reform Programmes and the Commission's Annual Progress Report can be consulted on the Growth and Jobs website.

The exchange of good practice in the Charter context continues complementary to the Lisbon process. All the Member States' 2007/2008 good practice examples are now available in an online catalogue.

European Charter for Small Enterprises - 2008 good practice selection

Charter Good practices selections from previous years

SME Good practice online catalogue

Application of the Charter outside the EU

The Charter

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