Policy context

European enterprise policy is conducted by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.

The European Commission's enterprise policies aim to create a favourable environment for business to thrive within the EU, creating higher productivity, economic growth, jobs and wealth. Policies are aimed at reducing administrative burden, stimulating innovation, encouraging sustainable production, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the EU's internal market.

At the European Council meeting of 26 March 2010, EU leaders set out their plan for Europe 2020, a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and to create more growth and jobs. The latest revision of the integrated economic and employment guidelines (revised as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth) includes a guideline to improve the business and consumer environment and modernise Europe's industrial base. Additional information about the Europe 2020 strategy can be found on the Europe 2020 website.

In October 2010, the European Commission presented a Communication on An industrial policy for the globalisation era, which provides a blueprint that puts industrial competitiveness and sustainability centre stage. This new industrial policy establishes a strategic agenda and proposes some broad cross-sectoral measures, as well as tailor-made actions for specific industries, mainly targeting the so-called ‘green innovation' performance of these sectors.

Enterprise policy on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is centred upon screening all new EU laws for their friendliness to smaller enterprises, with an attempt to reduce red-tape.

The Regional Policy Directorate-General is responsible for measures to assist the economic and social development of the less-favoured regions within the EU. Its aim is to promote a high level of competitiveness and employment by helping the least prosperous regions and those facing structural difficulties.

The central principles governing the internal market for services guarantee EU enterprises the freedom to establish themselves in other Member States, and the freedom to provide services on the territory of another EU Member State other than the one in which they are established.