EU market rules
Taking a business beyond national boundaries means entering new markets, meeting potential clients and finding business opportunities. To help make this process easier, use the below links to get familiar with EU market rules.
What is the Single Market?
This website helps stakeholders, SMEs, trade associations and public organisations, find questions about legislative acts recently finalised by the European Commission in the area of the Single Market.
A favourable business environment is a precondition for the growth and prosperity of SMEs. The EU is working to cut down red tape and to harmonise rules, such as those relating to company law, contract law, accounting and public procurement.
European Contract Law
The EU has aimed to help businesses and citizens move and interact freely in a borderless Union. This is an overview of EU measures to make contract law easier for cross-border transactions.
This link provides information on EU initiatives aimed at achieving a certain degree of harmonisation of direct corporate taxes, particularly in cross-border situations.
Overview of EU legislation, key documents and useful information on value added tax (VAT) in each EU country.
VAT invoicing rules update (2013)
As from 1 January 2013, a directive on VAT invoicing establishes equal treatment between paper and electronic invoices, and allows freedom of choice regarding the invoicing method. The new rules aim to make life easier for small firms by removing burdens and barriers, and to promote the uptake of e-invoicing.
Keeping the accounts
The EU is working towards greater transparency and comparability of financial statements provided by companies. This page informs on existing standards and initiatives to make these rules easier.
Fit for the euro
A guide to help small firms prepare for the switchover to the euro and reap the benefits of the single currency.
Everything an SME needs to know about the EU's single currency, from explaining the Economic and Monetary Union to who manages it and why we need it.
Fighting late payments
The European Commission has a late payment directive to provide SMEs with the tools and information to combat late payments between businesses and public authorities.
Starting a business
Are you planning on starting a new business in the EU? Find all the information to help get you started here.
Cross-border business in the EU
Single Market Act
The ‘Single Market Act’ will help SMEs take advantage of the Internal Market by simplifying free movement of goods, services, capital, and people.
Free movement of goods
This web pages gives an overview of the opportunities offered by the free movement of goods in the European Single Market and the rules that apply.
Outstanding claims across borders
This project supports SMEs operating across borders by facilitating cross-border debt recovery with a practical guide as well as organising targeted seminars and teaching modules.
European Small Claims Procedure
Access to information on current and future EU rules to recover money owed by someone based in another EU country.
Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS)
TRIS is a system for Member States to inform other Member States and the Commission of draft technical regulations concerning products and information society services before they are adopted, to prevent unjustified barriers.
"Taxes in Europe" database (TEDB)
The TEDB database provides information on the main taxes in force in the EU Member States as well as on the reforms in personal income tax, corporate income taxes, VAT, excise duties and social security contributions.
Free movement of services
An overview of the opportunities the free movement of services on the European Single Market provides and the rules that apply.
EUR-Lex - online access to EU law
Check which EU rules affect your business and how - direct access to EU law through this searchable database.
Summaries of EU legislation
This page provides SMEs with the main aspects of EU legislation presented by sector of activity in a concise and easy-to-read way.
Fighting cartels and preventing the abuse of dominant positions are the two priorities of the EU's antitrust policy.
State aid control
The Commission has put in place a unique system to monitor the provision of state aid. This is necessary to ensure that competition is not distorted by government interventions.
State aid rules for SMEs
This downloadable guide gives an overview of the state aid possibilities for small businesses, as allowed by EU rules.
General Block Exemption Regulation
This regulation allows for the automatic approval of state aid for certain new activities that would not have been possible without it and which promote economic development without distorting competition. It has been specifically designed with state aid to SMEs in mind.
Merging with another company
Merging is the least expensive way to expand a company and broaden its activities at home and abroad. Find out more on the different forms of acquisitions and EU regulation concerning mergers.
Standardisation makes international trade, competition and the acceptance of innovations by markets easier. Bringing added value for SMEs remains among the biggest challenges in this field.
Legislation on European standards
An overview of European harmonised standards and how they are used for technical harmonisation of product requirements within the Single Market.
Standardisation and SMEs
Standards reduce the technical barriers to trade and thus facilitate SMEs' access to the Single Market - the EU Commission is making sure that small firms' needs are addressed in the standardisation process.
Small Business Standards (SBS)
This international non-profit organisation is furthering the interests of small businesses in the European standardisation system.
CEN-CENELEC SME Helpdesk
European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) help and support centre for small businesses in the field of standardisation.
Pre-packaging and units of measurement
These web pages provide information on EU regulations concerning products and packaging materials, measuring instruments and units of measurement.
REACH - Dealing with chemicals
EU rules for the chemical industry known as the REACH package require companies to register and provide information on the chemicals they use, in order to minimise health and environmental hazards.
The web pages of the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) help businesses understand how to fulfil their obligations concerning the safe use of chemicals.
National REACH/CLP helpdesks
These national helpdesks provide advice and support for businesses on issues regarding the REACH chemical directive and CLP (classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals) regulations.
Dealing with consumers
Financial Dispute Resolution Network (FIN-NET)
FIN-NET helps consumers resolve cross-border complaints in the area of financial services by providing a mechanism that allows them to contact an out-of-court complaint scheme.
An overview of the EU's consumer policy including information of interest to SMEs, such as the EU Directives on distance selling and on unfair commercial practices and a compendium of EU consumer law.
Liability for defective products
Extensive consumer rights in the EU concerning product safety and compensation for damage caused by defective products are essential for producers to know.