Navigation path

eu calender
What's in it for me?
Europe in the UK
President José Manuel Barroso
The commissioners
EP in the UK
Strengthening Europe's small businesses to drive growth
E-mail this pageE-mail this pagePrintPrint

Published on 23-02-11

More must be done to help Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a review of the Small Business Act published by the European Commission.

The Small Business Act (SBA) is the EU policy framework to strengthen SMEs so that they can grow and create employment.  Since its introduction in 2008, a number of actions have been taken to alleviate the administrative burden on SMEs, as well as help to access finance and support to enter to new markets.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "SMEs represent more than 99% of all businesses and employ more than 90 million in Europe. They are the engine behind our economy and must be kept strong, competitive and innovative. Member states must act quickly to ensure that the Small Business Act is fully implemented."

    Strengthening Europe's small businesses to drive growth

    Although all member states have acknowledged the importance of a rapid implementation of the SBA, the approach taken and the results achieved vary considerably between member states.

    The review underlines that member states have to step up their efforts to promote entrepreneurship and SMEs to support entrepreneurship in today’s difficult economic climate.

    Giving fresh impetus to the SBA
    The Commission is determined to continue to give priority to SMEs. To reflect the latest economic developments, align the SBA with the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and continuously improve the business environment for SMEs, the review proposes further action in a number of priority areas.

    Improved access to finance to invest and grow
    Access to loan guarantees for SMEs through strengthened loan guarantee schemes;

    Action plan for improving SMEs’ access to finance, including access to venture capital markets, as well as targeted measures aimed at making investors more aware of the opportunities offered by SMEs;

    Allow all banks, independent of size, to easily implement EIB loans and EU instruments.

    Smart regulation to enable SMEs to concentrate on core business
    Improved EU legislation through an SME test for the Commission’s legislative proposals paying specific attention to the differences between micro, small and medium enterprises;

    Development of “points of single contact” in member states to facilitate administrative procedures;

    Quantified targets for reduced "gold plating", the practice of national bodies to exceed the terms of EU directives when translating them into national law.

    Making full use of the Single Market
    Proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base;

    Measures to facilitate cross-border debt recovery;

    Revision of the European standardisation system making standards more SME-friendly and easily accessible;

    Guidance to SMEs making use of labelling of origin rules.

    Helping SMEs face the challenges of globalisation and climate change
    Proposals to support SMEs in markets outside the EU;

    New strategy for globally competitive clusters and networks;

    Specific action on regional knowledge transfer between environmental and energy experts within the Enterprise Europe Network.

    Related Links

    Last update: 01/03/2011  |Top