Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Less regulatory burden for small businesses

Less regulatory burden for small businesses
Published on: 23/11/2011
The Commission today presents 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.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission said: "In this time of crisis we are putting all our energy in promoting the best possible conditions for growth and job creation. The smallest enterprises have a central role in economic recovery, but at the same time they are the most vulnerable. For them, complying with regulation can be ten times more expensive than for large companies. We therefore want to lend them a helping hand and reduce the regulatory burden to a minimum so that their growth potential is fully unleashed for the benefit of the European economy."

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "More than ever making life easier for enterprises must be at the fore of our priorities to support the way out of the crisis. It's quality not quantity that counts. Europe has to give priority to ideas and innovation without bureaucratic stop signs. We will get out of the crisis in Europe if we manage to get on with this. It will be a key to promote sustainable economic recovery."

As of January 2012 the Commission will further:

  1. step up the search for exemptions or lighter requirements for micro-enterprises in existing and new EU legislation;
  2. strengthen the processes by which micro-enterprises and other SMEs are consulted when reviewing existing EU regulation and preparing new EU laws.
  3. produce annual scoreboards to evaluate the real benefits for businesses and to ensure a continuing focus on their needs and interests .


The 'Single Market Act' and the revised 'Small Business Act' with its 'Think Small First' principle clearly underline the Commission's commitment to support the development of the European SMEs.

The initiatives launched today are the latest in a series under the Smart Regulation agenda aiming at improving legislation for European businesses. Around 200 legal acts that bring substantial benefits for businesses have already been adopted with the "Simplification Rolling Programme".

With the Action Plan for Administrative Burden Reduction, the Commission has tabled reduction proposals for 39 billion Euros for enterprises.

Further information