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SMEs in the EU

News and information about the European Union's policies for small and medium-sized businesses.

ETUC European Trade Union Confederation 03 January 2007, 18:20 CET
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) was set up in 1973 to promote the interests of working people at European level and to represent them in the EU institutions. The ETUC has in membership 81 National Trade Union Confederations from 36 European countries, as well as 12 European industry federations, making a total of 60 million members, plus observer organisations in Macedonia and Serbia. Other trade Union structures such as EUROCADRES (the Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff) and EFREP/FERPA (European Federation of Retired and Elderly Persons) operate under the auspices of the ETUC.

UNICE Confederation of European Business 08 August 2006, 13:18 CET
UNICE represents more than 20 million small, medium and large companies. Active in European affairs, UNICE's members are 38 central industrial and employers’ federations from 32 countries. UNICE actively promotes and represents business interests in Europe. It advocates a favourable and competitive business environment to foster sustainable economic growth.

SMEs and the ICT challenge 03 January 2007, 18:44 CET
20 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy. They represent 99% of all enterprises in the EU and provide around 65 million jobs. They create wealth, foster new ideas and are a key source of new jobs. By using ICT and particularly e-business, SMEs have greater opportunities to develop: they are able to buy and sell over the Internet, reduce their costs and boost productivity, and manage change more effectively. e-business helps eliminate the barrier of distance, allowing SMEs to trade worldwide from a single website.

EU public procurement portal - SIMAP 07 August 2006, 18:30 CET
SIMAP is the EU public procurement portal providing: General and specific information on the European public procurement sector; Links to the latest European Directives on public procurement; Links to the codes and thresholds used in public procurement; The official standard forms for sending notices to be published in the Supplement to the Official Journal (OJ S), as laid down in the European directives.

Eurochambres 07 August 2006, 17:39 CET
Eurochambres - the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry - represents 44 national associations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a European network of 2000 regional and local Chambers with over 18 million member enterprises in Europe.

SME TechWeb 03 January 2007, 18:44 CET
This European Commission website provides information and resources for technology - oriented companies with fewer than 250 employees (small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs) - especially those wishing to innovate and internationalise. It is of particular value to those who want to apply for research funding through the new measures of the European Union's Sixth Research and Technological Development Framework Programme (FP6).

Euro Info Centres 07 August 2006, 12:18 CET
Euro Info Centres or EICs inform, advise, and assist businesses on Community issues. They also provide feedback to the European Commission about community matters affecting SMEs. EICs are well integrated in the local and regional business environment, while their teams are familiar with European practices. EICs are in constant contact with the European Commission and get access to a business support network comprising of more than 300 centres across more than 45 countries.

VAT in the European Community 07 August 2006, 12:12 CET
The country-specific documents on this European Commission page contain basic information on the application of VAT in the Member States for the use by administrations, business, information networks, etc.

VAT Invoicing Rules in the EU 07 August 2006, 12:11 CET
The European Council adopted on 20 December 2001 a Directive (2001/115/EC) on VAT Invoicing. This Directive, which amends the 6th VAT Directive, had to be implemented into national Law before 1 January 2004. The Commission says this measure will be of significant practical benefit to firms operating within the Internal Market because it will ensure that they have only to deal with a single, simplified set of rules on invoicing valid throughout the EU instead of fifteen different sets of legislation. At the same time, the Directive requires Member States to recognise the validity of electronic invoices and allow cross-border electronic invoicing and electronic storage.

The EU's Lisbon strategy - Growth and Jobs 06 August 2006, 10:38 CET
The Lisbon Strategy is a commitment to bring about economic, social and environmental renewal in the EU. In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. Under the strategy, a stronger economy will drive job creation alongside social and environmental policies that ensure sustainable development and social inclusion.

Bankruptcy - Restructuring, bankruptcy and a fresh start 05 August 2006, 22:26 CET
Entrepreneurship can trigger the creation of wealth and employment and within the EU entrepreneurial activity should be encouraged. Many in the EU feel that there is a stigma on failure, which works as deterrent to entrepreneurial initiative. This climate is contrasted with the climate in the US where business failure is in certain business communities considered as a learning experience. This report, prepared for the European Commission in November 2003, assesses national bankruptcy laws in the EU member states and the extent to which these act as a deterrent to business survival and a fresh start, as well as the effects of social stigma on the potential of entrepreneurs who have try but fail to try again.

Your Europe - Business 05 August 2006, 21:47 CET
Your Europe provides businesses with practical information and advice to help them carry out their business in another country within the European Union. You can find information on registration of companies, public procurement, taxes, business directories, various funding opportunities or employment laws.

SME User Guide explaining the new SME definition 05 August 2006, 21:39 CET
In May 2003 the European Commission adopted a new Recommendation regarding the SME definition to come into force 1 January 2005. The revision increases legal certainty, while reducing possibilities of its abuse, particularly with regard to state aid, Structural Funds and the Research and Development Framework Programme. This Recommendation concerns all Community policies applied within the European Economic Area in favour of SMEs. It will be adopted in a number of Community acts and programmes and integrated in the field of state aids where SMEs can benefit from exemption provisions including aid for R&D and vocational training.

SOLVIT 14 October 2009, 20:19 CET
SOLVIT is an on-line problem solving network in which EU Member States work together to solve without legal proceedings problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities. There is a SOLVIT centre in every European Union Member State (as well as in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). SOLVIT Centres can help with handling complaints from both citizens and businesses. They are part of the national administration and are committed to providing real solutions to problems within ten weeks. Using SOLVIT is free of charge. SOLVIT has been working since July 2002. The European Commission coordinates the network, which is operated by the Member States, the European Commission provides the database facilities and, when needed, helps to speed up the resolution of problems. The Commission also passes formal complaints it receives on to SOLVIT if there is a good chance that the problem can be solved without legal action.

Draft Directive on Services in the EU internal market 01 August 2006, 23:24 CET
The objective of the Services proposal is to achieve a genuine Internal Market in services by removing legal and administrative barriers to the development of service activities between Member States. The proposed Directive would guarantee service providers more legal certainty if they want to exercise two fundamental freedoms (freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services) enshrined in the EC Treaty. This would make it easier for businesses to provide and use cross-border services in the EU, thus increasing cross-border competition in service markets, bringing down prices and improving quality and choice for consumers. The Directive will also strengthen the rights of users of services, for instance by enshrining the right of non-discrimination.

CIP – Innovation and entrepreneurship, ICT and intelligent energy 03 January 2007, 18:44 CET
CIP is a programme for SMEs bringing together several existing EU activities that support competitiveness and innovation The new CIP programme has a budget of EUR 3.621 billion, from 2007-2013. On an annual basis this represents an increase of 60% compared to 2006 under the various equivalent predecessor programmes. It is estimated, that more than 350.000 enterprises will benefit from the new Financial Instruments under CIP.

European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) 31 July 2006, 21:34 CET
If you have a problem with a product you bought in another European country; if you want to check on your rights and what you are entitled to as a European consumer; if you have a complaint against a company or you are in a dispute with a trader - the network of European Consumer Centres is there to help with such questions and any other problems you may have concerning your activities as a consumer in Europe. The aim being that you should feel as confident when shopping in another country as you do at home.

Anti-dumping in the EU: the basics 31 July 2006, 20:31 CET
Dumping is the sale of a product for export at less than its normal value (i.e.: profitable domestic sales prices or cost of manufacture plus a small allowance for selling, general and administrative costs and profit margin) in the market where it is produced.

Services directive - EP text 31 July 2006, 20:30 CET
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market (COM(2004)0002 – C5-0069/2004 – 2004/0001(COD)) - text adopted 16 February 2006

Review of EU Timeshare Directive 31 July 2006, 19:27 CET
Timeshare, within the meaning of the European Union Timeshare Directive, is the right to spend a period of time (e.g. one or more weeks) in a holiday property for a specified or specifiable period of the year for three years or longer.

European Year for Workers' Mobility 03 January 2007, 18:20 CET
2006 has been designated the European Year for Workers’ Mobility. On this site you can find out more about activities and events carried out in the framework of the Year, and access a wealth of information on workers' mobility. It aims to open up the debate on the real benefits and challenges of working abroad or changing job.