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SMEs in the EU

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

OSEC Export Step-by-Step guide
Working on behalf of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, part of Osec’s remit is to act as the official body for promoting Swiss exports, helping SMEs from Switzerland and Liechtenstein get a foothold in international markets.

Starting a business in Switzerland
This World Bank site provides information about the procedures and costs associated with starting a business in Switzerland.

The Enterprise Europe Network in Norway
Business organisations in Norway in support of SMEs.

Starting a business in Norway
This World Bank site provides information about the procedures and costs associated with starting a business in Norway.

Support to Enterprise Competitiveness and Export Promotion (SECEP) Project in Serbia
The Support to Enterprise Competitiveness and Export Promotion (SECEP) Project seeks to improve the competitiveness of Serbian SMEs through three closely interlinked but distinct components: cluster development (including cluster mapping and analysis), supply chain development and internationalisation - promoting Serbian Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and developing their ability to export.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for small business after all?
Today, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of a Commission proposal to exempt micro-entities from certain disproportionately burdensome accounting rules. The vote signals an important step forward for the EU’s overall goal to reduce administrative burden by 25% by 2012.

Fiscal and Tax Environment in Iceland
Information about the fiscal and tax environment for international organisations, investing in Iceland.

Public procurement - Community tendering procedure - CASELEX:EU:2009:162
Pursuant to Community public procurement law, when a tenderer had submitted an ambiguous offer in a tender organised by the Commission of the European Communities and the Commission could resolve the ambiguity by contacting that tenderer, the Commission was obliged to contact the tenderer in order to establish the actual meaning of the tender. In such a case, to reject the offer without contacting the tenderer would be contrary to the principles of sound administration, equal treatment, proportionality and legal certainty. Such was the case when the tenderer had omitted to indicate the price of a given item but that price could be easily deduced from the price of an identical or similar item in the offer, as it was a matter of clarification, and not modification, of the initial offer of the tenderer.

Indecisive Council and European Parliament Threaten Credibility of EU Plan to Reduce Administrative Burdens
In January 2007, the European Commission presented a far-reaching Action Programme for the reduction of administrative burden in the European Union, in which it committed itself to reducing red tape on European businesses by 25% by 2012.

The CORNET Programme for research-acquiring SMEs
CORNET - ‘COllective Research NETworking’ is an ERA-NET in the field of Collective Research. Collective research programmes benefit all or most of the SMEs working in the same sector or branch of industry. Any intellectual property rights generated through the project are typically distributed throughout the firms in the target sector.

EraSME research programmes network
EraSME is a network of 18 national and regional research programmes supporting SMEs, currently supported under the Seventh Framework Programme. Started under the Sixth Framework Programme, the EraSME project was the first to take an integrated transnational approach and make cross-border SME-research cooperation possible.

Cooperation for research-performing SMEs
The major initiatives that favour the involvement of SMEs include selection of SME-relevant topics, SME dedicated calls, a budget earmarked for SMEs within specific calls and coordination and support actions across the Themes.

SME participation in FP7 research projects
A step-by-step guide on how SMEs can participate in FP7 research projects.

Research for the benefit of SMEs
The aim is to strengthen the 'innovation capacity' of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and their contribution to the development of new technology based products and markets.

EU 2020 strategy must not turn a blind eye to the public sector, warn SMEs
The EU 2020 strategy must focus more on the quality, implementation and enforcement of public regulations if it is to live up to its role as Europe's long-term policy agenda, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation. Publishing today its response to the European Commission's consultation on the issue (1), UEAPME stressed the need to incorporate the quality of regulatory systems and their ability to enforce European law in the EU 2020 strategy, including a better integration of the "Think Small First" principles into the text. The organisation also recommended adding a fourth priority, namely improving the effectiveness and accessibility of the public sector. Moreover, it warned that the new strategy will only work if Member States take ownership of the process, which was not always the case in the past, and if stakeholders at all levels are not only involved but fully committed to putting jointly agreed policies into practice.

Doing business in Europe is becoming easier!
Businesses in around two-thirds of the services sector will soon be able to take greater advantage of European markets thanks to the EU Services Directive.

Seventh Directive: consolidated accounts of companies with limited liability
This Seventh Company Law Directive coordinates national laws on consolidated (i.e. group) accounts. Together with the Fourth Directive on the annual accounts of public limited liability companies, it belongs to the family of "accounting directives" that form the arsenal of Community legal acts governing company accounts.

Statute for a European Company
The aim of these documents is to create a "European company" with its own legislative framework. This will allow companies incorporated in different Member States to merge or form a holding company or joint subsidiary, while avoiding the legal and practical constraints arising from the existence of 27 different legal systems. This legislative framework also provides for the involvement of employees in European companies, giving due recognition to their place and role in the business.

Common system of VAT (the 'VAT Directive')
This Directive codifies the provisions implementing the common system of VAT, which applies to the production and distribution of goods and services bought and sold for consumption within the European Community.

Parliament vote on Microfinance Facility: positive idea diluted by funding confusion
While today’s agreement on the content of the proposed “European Microfinance Facility for Employment and Social Inclusion” is a positive sign for entrepreneurs, it is undermined by the lack of agreement on how it will be funded.

Small Business Act (SBA) implementation
Examples of national measures taken to implement the Small Business Act (SBA)

EU VAT anti-fraud strategy
In order to improve the VAT management system and to protect EU Member States against VAT fraud, the European Commission proposes a review, with particular regard to methods of control, registration, information and collection of revenue in the context of an increase in cross-border transactions.

Applications of Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty
The new arrangements for applying the anti-trust procedures, which were introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, are designed to ensure more effective enforcement of the European Community competition rules in the interest of consumers and businesses, while easing the administrative burden of firms doing business in Europe. Via decentralised application of the competition rules and by strengthening a posteriori control, the Regulation will lighten the European Commission's workload and increase the part played by national authorities and courts in implementing competition law while guaranteeing its uniform application.

Business prospects for 2010 lowest in a decade
Businesses in Europe expect to invest and employ less in 2010 than at any time in the last decade. Also turnover and export forecasts are at their lowest level since 2000, while businesses do not anticipate any changes in domestic sales for the coming year.

Small Business Act: a not so happy birthday, say SMEs
The Small Business Act adopted exactly one year ago by the Council has had a limited impact on the ground so far and much remains to be done to ensure the full application of its principles and guidelines, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation.