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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Small Business Act for Europe

Giant business man holding a microphone © Laurent Hamels - Fotolia.com

Adopted in June 2008, the Small Business Act for Europe pdf 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) [18 KB] (SBA) Türkçe reflects the Commission's political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy and for the first time puts into place a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States.

It aims to improve the overall approach to entrepreneurship, permanently anchor the 'Think Small First' principle in policy making from regulation to public service, and to promote SMEs' growth by helping them tackle the remaining problems which hamper their development.

The Small Business Act for Europe applies to all independent companies which have fewer than 250 employees: 99% of all European businesses.

23/11/2011 - Less regulatory burden for small businesses

The Commission presented a new approach to ensure that the EU responds better to the needs of small businesses.

From now on, the European Commission will seek wherever possible to exempt micro-enterprises from EU legislation or introduce special regimes so as to minimise the regulatory burden on them.

In a report to the Council and the European Parliament, the Commission presents a list of initiatives of this kind already taken and to be examined for the future.

It announces stronger means to ensure the input of micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the formulation of new EU initiatives.

February 2011: SBA Review

The SBA review presents an overview of the progress achieved in implementing the Act, and sets out new actions to respond to challenges resulting from the economic crisis. Between 2008 and 2010, the Commission and EU Member States took measures to ease the administrative burden on small businesses, to facilitate SMEs’ access to funding, and to support their access to global markets. Although most initiatives foreseen by the SBA have been initiated, the review reveals that more must be done to help SMEs.

In short, the SBA...

  • ... is a set of 10 principles which should guide the design and implementation of policies both at EU and national level. This is essential to create a level playing field for SMEs throughout the EU and improve the administrative and legal environment so as to allow these enterprises to unleash their full potential to create jobs and growth;
  • ... is an ambitious package of concrete and far reaching new measures including four legislative proposals which translate these principles into action both at EU and Member State level;
  • ... was endorsed politically by the EU Council of Ministers in December 2008 to ensure the full commitment of both the Commission and the Member States together with regular monitoring of its implementation.

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