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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Start-up procedures - reference documents

Member States' commitments to administrative simplification in start-ups are based on the documents below. They also form the basis for the Commission's yearly tracking of results.

Key documents


Commission documents and studies prior to 2006

  • Helping businesses start up
    2000 good practice guide for business support organisations, identifying 20 examples of good practice in providing assistance to start-ups in the areas of training, information and finance and through direct support in the form of incubators.

Commission Recommendation from 1997

Commission Recommendation of 22 April 1997 on improving and simplifying the business environment for business start-ups български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) (97/344/EC)

The Recommendation sets out specific measures relating to the start-up phase of a business and how Member States could improve their procedures. For example:

  • Administrations should establish single contact points for start-up formalities;
  • They should require enterprises to fill in only a single form which will be sent to the relevant parts of the administration;
  • They should establish a single identification number to be used by businesses when dealing with any part of the public administration;
  • Methods should be developed to speed up authorisation procedures, such as an automatic approval to start a business if the administration does not respond by a fixed date;
  • Improvements should be introduced in the tax treatment of newly established
    enterprises and VAT procedures for SMEs should be simplified;
  • Social security contributions should be reduced when new employees are taken on;
  • There should be more co-ordination between social security and taxation offices so as to improve the way they interact with businesses, for example in reducing the burden of different forms and different reporting periods.

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