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SMEs in the EU

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

Trading practices (UTPs) - Christmas rush for a deal no longer about protecting farmers
Retailers and wholesalers expressed dismay at the Agriculture Council decision yesterday to create a completely new class of mid-range company at an arbitrary figure of some 300 million euros, to be covered by the UTP directive.

Plastics: retailers and wholesalers support action, but still concerned at broadened producer responsibility
Today's agreement in the Council on the directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastics products on the environment sends a clear signal on the need to ensure that plastics can no longer be wasted.

Headlong rush on UTP directive is jettisoning EU principles - and won't help any farmer
Ahead of the final scheduled trilogue on the Unfair Trading Practices Directive tomorrow, retailers and wholesalers warned negotiators not to forget fundamental principles laid down by EU law, or the implications of ignoring them EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

EU businesses need transparent and fair online platforms: MEPs
An EU Parliament committee approved Thursday a draft law which requires online platforms such as Google and Amazon to end unfair practices to businesses and set up effective redress mechanisms.

Retailers and wholesalers warn of risks in collective redress proposal
Speaking today after the vote of the European Parliament JURI Committee report on collective redress, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren warned of the risk that the proposal as amended will spark a wave of vexatious litigation:

New commitments on foreign cards only a small step, but fails to create an online/offline playing field
Retailers and wholesalers today welcomed the announcement that Visa and Mastercard have made commitments to bring transactions on cards issued outside the EU (non-EU visitors purchasing within the EU) broadly in line with those EU-issued cards.

Innovation is the engine of our economy
Innovation is the engine of our economy and crucial for the competitiveness of Europe's economy. However, SMEs and start-ups have problems to finance innovative projects, seen as too risky by banks.

SMEs continue to recover and drive Europe's economy
Ten years after the start of the financial crisis and the adoption of the Small Business Act, the European Commission presented today its new SME Performance Review at the SME Assembly 2018.

Retailers and wholesalers warn of dangers from direct consumer imports
Speaking today on the occasion of the International Product Safety Week, Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said: "Our members are deeply worried at the influx of dangerous products sold by unscrupulous non-EU manufacturers and sellers, directly targeting EU customers. These products are not subject to any controls and can cause serious harm to consumers. They also represent unfair competition to responsible EU producers, importers and retailers who work hard to ensure that their products are safe and meet EU standards. Any new regulation has to reflect this new reality and help national authorities in responding appropriately to these threats. Rogue traders who deliberately bring non-compliant products into the EU should be stopped and punished."

SMEunited launches UEAPME into the future
At yesterday's Extraordinary General Assembly, UEAPME decided on SMEunited as the new name for the association for Crafts and SMEs in Europe.

Political tensions are becoming a challenge for growth in Europe
At the Macroeconomic dialogue, heads of the European Commission, Presidency of the Council of the EU, and European Central Bank, discussed the economic situation in Europe and its challenges with the European Social Partners.

SME funding allocated to innovators across Europe
246 smaller businesses (SMEs) from 24 countries were selected Monday for financial support from the EU's SME Instrument - a funding mechanism under the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme.

Ending unjustified Geoblocking: a short guide for online traders
On 3 December 2018, new rules on geoblocking will enter into force. These measures part of a wider packet of measures under the Digital Single Market Strategy, aimed at boosting cross-border e-commerce in the European Union. These rules will ensure better access to goods and services offered online, create greater certainty for business and build trust amongst consumers and reduce transaction costs and the administrative burden for businesses.

President Rabmer-Koller handed over the 2018 EEN award
At the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Award ceremony in Vienna yesterday, UEAPME President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller handed over the award to Nova Innovation Ltd, a world leader in tidal turbine technology and project development.

Make sure UTP negotiations help farmers - and consumers
Today's European Parliament Plenary gave a mandate to Paolo de Castro MEP to start negotiations with the Council and Commission on the Directive on Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain. We thank the large number of MEPs who sent a clear signal that they were uncomfortable with many of the amendments put forward in the draft mandate.

Dangerous substances: a real cause of work-related illnesses
In the context of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, UEAPME welcomes the raising awareness actions related to the campaign managed by OSHA.

Working conditions: even more burdens for employers
The European Parliament (EMPL) vote on compromise amendments on transparent and predictable working conditions goes further than the Commission’s proposal on issues such as information, predictability of work, non-standard forms of employment, training, probationary period, transition to another form of employment or employers’ sanctions.

Standards are crucial for market access for SMEs
tandards are everywhere! They affect our daily life whether we realise it or not. Every year on 14th October, the World Standards Day celebrates the creation of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO).

Making the circular economy work means working together
Opening the first conference on circular economy dedicated to retail and wholesale, EuroCommerce President Régis Degelcke said: "If there are three words we should all think of in terms of the circular economy, they are cooperation, consistency and commitment. Retailers and wholesalers are pushing and will – push ahead with creating sustainable solutions, but these can only be effective with the active and committed participation of all, working together to achieve the right results across all sectors."

European leaders must avoid putting growth at risk
At the Tripartite Social Summit dealing with 'Reinforcing competitiveness, sustainable job creation and social fairness in the EU', UEAPME President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller put forward the fact that competitiveness should be tackled in a global context, since current political uncertainties - such as the trade conflicts, protectionism , Brexit, and skills shortage - have a direct impact on SME expectations and further developments.

Ministers reach political agreement on business restructuring rules
A new approach to business insolvency in Europe, agreed Thursday by EU justice ministers, will help companies in financial difficulties to restructure early on to prevent bankruptcy and avoid laying off staff.

SMEs show economic stability at high level with confidence at 81.7
Today, ahead of next week's Tripartite Social Summit and European Council, UEAPME President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller presented the latest EU SME Barometer.

ENVI Committee fails to hit the right target on plastic litter
The European Parliament Environment Committee voted today to amend the Commission's proposal on the reduction of the impact of plastics on the environment. This proposal aims to prevent littering from 10 single-use plastic products frequently found on Europe's beaches.

UTPs directive - from balanced proposal to witch hunt?
Speaking after the vote in the European Parliament AGRI committee this evening, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren warned that the debate and vote in the Parliament has moved the discussion towards a witch hunt against retailers and wholesalers:

Digitalisation is a key challenge for SMEs
EAPME President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller met with European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip to discuss the SMEs' challenges to digitalise. UEAPME wants to make sure that all SMEs are on the digital train. Fair and transparent rules, skills development, modern infrastructure and SME-friendly standards are crucial to achieve this objective.