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SMEs in the EU

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

Innovation Union - turning ideas into jobs, green growth and social progress - guide 07 October 2010, 16:29 CET
The European Commission's "Innovation Union", tabled on 6 October, sets out a strategic approach to innovation, driven by the highest political level. The Innovation Union will focus Europe's efforts – and co-operation with third countries - on challenges like climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. It will use public sector intervention to stimulate the private sector and to remove bottlenecks which stop ideas reaching the market. These include lack of finance, fragmented research systems and markets, under-use of public procurement for innovation and slow standard setting. The Innovation Union is a "flagship" in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Expiring measures on loan guarantees and risk capital must be kept, say SMEs 28 September 2010, 21:56 CET
The European Commission should keep in place the temporary support measures for loan guarantees and risk capital introduced in 2008 and due to expire at the end of the year, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation.

Opportunity knocks ... for SMEs with language skills 24 September 2010, 20:23 CET
This year's European Day of Languages highlights the potential and the challenges of multilingualism for the EU's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). First launched in 2001, this annual celebration of Europe's linguistic diversity will again translate into a broad range of events organised on and around 26 September.

Sweep Investigations: 2009 Sweep on electronic goods (second phase) - guide 16 September 2010, 23:12 CET
n "EU sweep" is a joint EU investigation and enforcement action to check for compliance with consumer protection laws.

"Youth on the Move" flagship initiative does not totally convince, say SMEs 15 September 2010, 13:41 CET
UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, was left with mixed feelings by today's "Youth on the Move" communication by the European Commission, which is aimed notably at improving employment prospects and promoting learning mobility of young people.

Voluntary liquidation 16 August 2010, 12:34 CET
What voluntary liquidation would mean for your company.

The Need For Insolvency Practitioners 16 August 2010, 11:55 CET
When would you need the help of an insolvency practitioner?

Innovation must start from the market, not from R&D, SMEs tell Ministers 14 July 2010, 23:07 CET
A better understanding of how small businesses operate and innovate is a must for the success of the upcoming “EU Innovation Act”, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation. Ahead of the informal Council of European Industry Ministers organised by the Belgian Presidency of the EU and starting today (Wednesday), UEAPME put forward a series of policy recommendations on how to maximise SMEs’ innovation potential.

Retail Market Monitoring Report 06 July 2010, 10:59 CET
The European Commission has adopted a report that identifies key issues potentially hampering more efficient and fairer retail services within the Internal Market and is now launching a public consultation on the report to determine future policy priorities in this domain. Reduced accessibility to basic retail services, scarce information on retail offers beyond local markets, slow growth of e-commerce, potentially abusive contractual practices throughout the retail supply chain, lack of transparency on quality labels, unsatisfactory functioning of the retail service labour markets as well as very different approaches to environmentally friendly retail services across the EU have been identified as key issues potentially hampering the retail sector. The deadline for consultation responses is 10 September 2010. The responses will feed into measures that the Commission will propose in the autumn as part of the Single Market Act.

EU contract law to smooth Single Market for businesses 01 July 2010, 22:35 CET
The European Commission proposed today options for a more coherent approach to contract law. The goal is to bring more legal certainty for businesses and simpler rules for consumers.

Parliament votes against entrepreneurship 17 June 2010, 23:37 CET
In a disastrous vote the European Parliament has opened the floodgates to legislation that will harm entrepreneurship throughout the European Union. By deciding against a Commission proposal which aims to exclude independent self-employed drivers in the transport sector from a directive that rigorously restricts working hours, the Parliament has set a dangerous precedent in interfering in the manner in which self-employed organize their working time.

European standards 17 June 2010, 13:11 CET
Standardisation is the voluntary process of developing technical specifications based on consensus among all interested parties (industry including Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), consumers, trade unions, environmental Non Governmental Organisations (NGO), public authorities, etc). It is carried out by independent standards bodies, acting at national, European and international level. While the use of standards remains voluntary, the European Union has, since the mid-1980s, made an increasing use of standards in support of its policies and legislation.

EU urges Member States to give a boost to small businesses 11 June 2010, 23:13 CET
The EU published today its annual SME report, estimating the loss of jobs in the SME sector over 2009 and 2010 to 3.25 million. The report stresses that EU Member States should take action to boost the small and medium enterprises sector in order to generate new employment opportunities.

Broken promises and lack of support are holding back SMEs: survey 01 June 2010, 12:17 CET
Member States must do much more to put into practice the measures contained in the Small Business Act one year after its entry into force and despite some timid signs of progress, according to a survey conducted by UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation.

European SME Week 2010 kicks off 25 May 2010, 23:51 CET
Vice President Antonio Tajani has launched the European SME Week 2010 in Brussels today. This pan-European campaign is designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. Over 3 million people are estimated to participate in the some 1261 events and activities that are being organised in 37 countries across Europe.

EU reduces chemicals fees for smaller businesses 22 May 2010, 17:38 CET
The European Commission is taking further measures to ease the implementation of the new EU Regulations on chemicals for small and medium-sized enterprises and reduce costs.

Euro-MPs call for closer ties between universities and industry 20 May 2010, 23:22 CET
Links between business and the academic world need to be strengthened but higher education institutions must retain their autonomy and public support, says a resolution adopted on Thursday by the European Parliament.

EP's vote on protection of self-employed respects needs of SMEs 18 May 2010, 17:30 CET
UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, welcomed the vote on the adoption of the report at second reading on equal treatment between men and women for self-employed and assisting spouses at the European Parliament’s plenary today.

ESBA Presents its "DIGITAL AGENDA FOR EUROPE: a Small Business Perspective" 12 May 2010, 01:05 CET
On 5 May 2010, the European Parliament adopted a report on "a new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu".

Latest trends in SMEs access to finance and EU financial instruments - Briefing 07 May 2010, 08:44 CET
Latest trends in SMEs access to finance and on the financial instruments under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

Commission to ease bottlenecks to financing of smaller businesses 07 May 2010, 08:47 CET
To address the difficult financing situation of SMEs, EU Commissioners proposed today to upgrade the SME Finance Forum into a high-level dialogue between financial institutions and SMEs. The SME Finance Forum 2010, being held in Brussels today, focuses on new strategies for improving access to finance for SMEs.

Commission action makes setting up business in Ireland easier 05 May 2010, 22:50 CET
Following changes to Irish legislation that remove obstacles to setting up a business in Ireland, the European Commission has closed its infringement case.

CBI response to industrial emissions directive vote 05 May 2010, 00:32 CET
The CBI, the UK’s leading business group, commented on the outcome of today’s vote on the Industrial Emissions Directive in the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in Brussels.

SMEs poised to profit from RFID technology 05 May 2010, 00:27 CET
A new EU-funded project starting this month and running for two years will help European SMEs in understanding and fully leveraging the potential benefits of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which allows real time data collection without physical or line of sight contact.

Late business payments: MEPs want deadlines 29 April 2010, 23:59 CET
MEPs believe that deadlines for paying bills in the business world should be laid down by law for both the private and public sectors. Yesterday Euro-MPs approved amendments to a planned EU directive designed to tackle the problem of late payments.