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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Support for policy development

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" - Albert Einstein More quotes

A modern SME policy as a basis for action

The Commission has been working with Member States for over a decade on the effect of bankruptcy and the promotion of a second chance (link to past action) collected data on the legal and social consequences of business failure, helped identify and spread good practice in EU countries and recently worked on early warning tools to preempt business failure. The latest Commission study is "Business Dynamics".

2011 Commission study on "Business Dynamics": measuring the impact of (licensing procedures - non-efficient transfer of business - bankruptcy/insolvency procedures and lack of support for a second chance) on job creation and business births in Europe

The study “Business Dynamics: Start-ups, Business Transfers and Bankruptcy pdf - 4 MB [4 MB] ” analyses the macro-economic impact of start-up, business transfer and bankruptcy legal and administrative procedures on entrepreneurship in Europe. Its aim is to identify the main problems faced by entrepreneurs along key instances of the business life of a company: start-up/licensing procedures, transfer of business, bankruptcy and second chance. Moreover, the study explores potential solutions and proposes policies that may be recommended to increase the ease of doing business and eventually the number of entrepreneurs in Europe.

The study covers the current national practices in 33 European countries affecting key moments of a company's life cycle: licensing, transfer, insolvency and re-birth with the final goal of analysing what are the key problems in each of these areas and their impact in terms of companies, jobs or GDP loss.

In relation to transfers of business, the study concludes that Europe is loosing approximately 150,000 firms representing 600,000 jobs a year due exclusively to inefficiencies in business transfers.

>> Download the study pdf - 4 MB [4 MB]

Available tools

On this section access is provided to several information sources that can provide support to public authorities wishing to develop or benchmark policies to develop a second chance for honest bankrupt entrepreneurs.


European and national legislation on Bankruptcy and insolvency, all EU 27 countries and Norway

ExpertsWhere to obtain more information on the legislation and programmes available in European countries
Reference documentsCommission legislation, Communications, activities, studies and projects on bankruptcy and second chance
Some good practicesActual programmes and policies to facilitate a second chance
StatisticsOn bankruptcies and insolvencies

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