The European Semester 2016 Spring Package encouraged EU Member States “to ensure an environment that is conducive to investment and to remove barriers and bottlenecks to investment”.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) launched on November the 24th the 2016 edition of the Small Business Act (SBA) Country Fact sheets. The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) is the EU’s flagship policy initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 99.8% of all enterprises, 57.4% of value added and 66.8% of employment in Europe. Published annually by DG GROW with the statistical support from the JRC, the SBA fact sheets aim to improve the understanding of recent trends and national policies affecting SMEs.
Overall, since 2013 employment by SMEs has been following a moderate growth path but it remained below pre-crisis levels, with the business service sector outperforming all other sectors, with a growth in value added by 7.6% and in employment by 2.8% in 2015.
SBA comprises a set of policy measures organised around 10 principles ranging from entrepreneurship and ‘responsive administration’ to internationalisation measured through more than 70 indicators. The two best performing principles at the EU28 level are found to be ‘responsive administration’ and internationalisation, whereas ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘access to finance’ and ‘single market’ signal the need of deeper intervention and ‘skills and innovation’ and ‘state & public procurement’ have deteriorated since 2008 for EU28.
When comparing country positioning with respect to the EU average, the statistical robustness and coherence analysis confirmed that 92% of countries’ positioning are statistically reliable.
As for the impact of the SBA, more than 2000 SBA related policy measures have been adopted in EU since 2011, most of which in the principles of access to finance, entrepreneurship, skills and innovation and ‘responsive administration’.
The 2016 SBA fact sheets benefited substantially from input from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. The JRC made major improvements to the methodological approach, statistical coherence, robustness assessment and the visual presentation of the data.