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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

The SBA review, launched in February 2011, is a major landmark in tracking the implementation of the Small Business Act. It aims to maintain the momentum in the journey towards a more entrepreneurial Europe and integrates the SBA with the Europe 2020 strategy. Six of the seven Europe 2020 Flagship Initiatives will help SMEs achieve sustainable growth, putting small businesses at the hear of EU policy.

Keeping our commitments to SMEs

From the outset, the EU institutions have kept a close eye on the rollout of the SBA to ensure it delivers for SME.

Europe's Economic Recovery Plan, launched in November 2008, featured crucial measures to support small businesses. This was quickly followed by the adoption of the Small Business Act by Member States, and a series of politicial commitments to help small firms weather the economic storm.

Member States & the SBA

Member States have a key role in the implementation of the SBA and have repeatedly endorsed efforts to boost entrepreneurship and small businesses. The European Council supported the implementation of the Action Plan for the SBA in December 2008. SMEs have also remained on the agenda of the Competitiveness Council which has monitoed progress on pro-enterprise reforms.

Let's take a look at the timeline:

23 February 2011: The Commission adopted a detailed Communication taking stock of progress achieved and proposing new actions to be implemented at EU and national level.

15 December 2009:  The Commisison adopted a report which highlights the progress made in implementing the SBA.

28 May 2009: The Competitiveness Council [247 KB] of 28 May 2009 recognised that good progress had been made in implementing the SBA. All legislative proposals are now on the table and the SME test is applied in the Commission impact assessment procedure. Member States agreed unanimously on the importance of strengthening action to improve access to finance and decrease the regulatory burden on business.

9 March 2009: A report on the SBA for Europe was adopted by the European Parliament.

12 February 2009:The Committee of Regions adopted an opinion on the SBA.

14 January 2009:The European Economic and Social Committee adopted an opinion on the SBA.

11-12 December 2008:The European Council supported the full implementation of the Action Plan for the SBA endorsed by the Competitiveness Council on 1 December 2008.

4 December 2008:The European Parliament adopted a Resolution requesting that the European Council confirm that it would formally approve the Small Business Act and make its provisions binding. The resolution passed with 614 votes in favour, 11 against and 9 abstentions.

1 December 2008: The Member States committed to implement the SBA by adopting the Competitiveness Council Conclusions of 1 December 2008 pdf - 212 KB [212 KB] .

  • The SBA Action Plan, pdf - 107 KB [107 KB] part of the Competitiveness Council Conclusions, focuses on short and medium-term measures to boost SMEs' access to finance, to improve the regulatory environment and to enhance market access for SMEs. These priority measures are at the heart of the Commission's efforst to ease the impact of the economic and financial crisis on small firms.

26 November 2008: The European Economic Recovery Plan, adopted by the Commission, includied far-reaching measures to enhance access to funding for SMEs, to reduce their administrative burden and to promote entrepreneurship.

25 June 2008: The European Commission published the Small Business Act for Europe.

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