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SMEs in the EU

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

New Microfinance initiative: a valuable tool to stimulate entrepreneurship and create jobs 02 July 2009, 22:50 CET
EUROCHAMBRES warmly welcomes the 'Progress Microfinance Facility' presented by the European Commission today as a sound initiative to encourage and support entrepreneurship. Thanks to this new EUR 100 million fund, people who have lost or are at risk of losing their job and want to start their own micro-enterprise will be able to obtain loans up to EUR 25,000, and be assisted with mentoring, training, coaching and capacity building.

European Social Partners' revised agreement on parental leave: one extra month of parental leave 18 June 2009, 22:49 CET
On 18 June 2009, in the presence of Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the European Social Partners, have formally adopted an agreement revising their 1995 Framework Agreement on Parental Leave.

EU Finance Day for SMEs 18 June 2009, 12:00 CET
EU Finance Day for SMEs is a series of events in the Member States that the European Commission is organising to inform about the EU financial instruments for SMEs together with the national financial intermediaries that implement these instruments locally. The aim is to raise awareness about different sources of finance and provide a forum for sharing good practices in helping innovative SMEs get easier access to finance. One-day event will be organised in all EU Member State capitals in 2008-2009. A list of dates is provided regularly on this site.

Assignment "Strengthening credit operations in a local microfinance organization": Request for Expressions of Interest 25 June 2009, 14:20 CET
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) through its Advisory Services in Europe and Central Asia and via its Azerbaijan and Central Asia Microfinance Transformation Program intends to finance the assignment "Strengthening credit operations in a local microfinance organization".

Shared Commitment for Employment - briefing 03 June 2009, 18:58 CET
The EU will make available EUR 19 billion of planned European Social Fund expenditure to support people hit by the economic crisis. Together with the European Investment Bank Group and other partners, a new EU loans facility will be set up to provide micro-credits for those who would usually have difficulty accessing the necessary funds to set up a business or a micro-enterprise.

EUR 1 trillion EU regulatory burden on business: study 27 May 2009, 22:41 CET
On the eve of Competitiveness Council discussions on better regulation, a new study published by EUROCHAMBRES estimates that complying with and reporting on EU regulation introduced in the last 11 years has cost European businesses over EUR 1 trillion.

Commission revision on Late Payments does not go far enough 08 April 2009, 17:15 CET
Intrum Justitia, Europe's leading Credit Management Services company, commends the European Commission's proposal to amend the existing Late Payment Directive and agrees with EU Enterprise Verheugen as describing late payments as a "disease". Intrum Justitia also agrees that SMEs are hard hit by the crisis and the problems of companies' liquidity in a time of the credit crunch must be addressed by the Commission.

Fight discrimination, harassment and violence against Lesbians and Gays in the EU: report 31 March 2009, 20:09 CET
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) today publishes its new report "Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States: Part II - The Social Situation". The report finds that discrimination, harassment and violence against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) persons are widespread throughout the EU.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) - briefing 17 March 2009, 01:14 CET
Corporate social responsibility is companies acting voluntarily and beyond the law to achieve social and environmental objectives during the course of their daily business activities. The European Commission is promoting inclusive and good quality employment practices within enterprises, particularly within the supply chain and down to the respect for human rights in the international context.

Small businesses' confidence hits new record low: first EU SME survey 12 March 2009, 17:23 CET
European SMEs have reached a new record low in business confidence, according to an EU-wide survey recently conducted by UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, and its members.

Eurovignette vote: mixed results say business organisations 12 March 2009, 00:13 CET
European business organisations UEAPME Transport Forum, EUROCHAMBRES and EuroCommerce were left with mixed feelings by today's contradictory voting results on the Eurovignette directive at the European Parliament's plenary session.

EU Entrepreneurship Action Plan 11 March 2009, 23:23 CET
In 2004, following the debate launched by the Green Paper on Entrepreneurship, the Commission published an Action Plan based on the extensive feedback received. The Action Plan established a framework of five strategic priority areas setting out Europe's agenda for entrepreneurship in the years to come. The Action Plan outlined a series of key actions related to five strategic areas. High on the agenda were fostering entrepreneurial mindsets among young people, reducing the stigma of failure, providing support for women and ethnic minorities, reducing the complexity of complying with tax laws and facilitating business transfers.

Successful completion of the first 2009 EU Gateway Business Mission to Japan renews strength of EU- Japan business cooperation 11 March 2009, 13:33 CET
9 March 2009 Press Release

Imagination, Entrepreneurship and the EU 23 May 2009, 22:28 CET
Each year the European Union spends billions of euros on an array of programmes with aims that include developing new technologies and encouraging Universities and business to work together.  However, such initiatives can seem often more akin to the Eurovision Song contest; part of the cultural fabric, but only rarely delivering a big hit.

Gender pay gap - EU campaign 04 March 2009, 00:29 CET
Highly skilled and loyal employees are the most precious resource for a majority of small and medium-sized enterprises. This initiative aims to assist SMEs in Europe to increase their productivity and boost their competitiveness by breaking down the invisible barriers created by gender stereotypes, thereby maximizing the potential of their employees.

Commission proposal on major burden reduction for micro entities 26 February 2009, 18:09 CET
The European Commission on 26 February put forward a new proposal which would allow EU Member States to completely abolish financial reporting obligations for the EU's smallest companies - Accounting in the Single Market website

Financial Reporting: burden reduction for micro-entities - briefing 26 February 2009, 18:09 CET
The European Commission has put forward a new proposal which would allow EU Member States to completely abolish financial reporting obligations for the EU's smallest companies. In a deteriorating economic climate, the new rules are designed to alleviate the regulatory burden on micro entities. The aggregate administrative burden reduction potential is estimated at around EUR 6.3 billion. The proposal, which was flagged in the European Economic Recovery Plan in November 2008, now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.

Accounting rules and micro entities - when simplification becomes complication 26 February 2009, 15:20 CET
The European Federation of Accountants and Auditors (EFAA), Europe's leading accountancy organisation dedicated solely to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, criticised today's communication by the European Commission giving Member States the option to exempt micro entities from preparing and publishing annual accounts.

Enterprise Europe Network 26 February 2009, 11:38 CET
The Enterprise Europe Network is an EU gateway to competitiveness and innovation, giving access to information to develop your business and find the right business partners. The Network offers support and advice to businesses across Europe and helps them make the most of the opportunities in the European Union. Its services are specifically designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but are also available to all businesses, research centres and Universities across Europe.

EU support to fight the crisis in the automotive sector 25 February 2009, 23:24 CET
The European automotive sector, with 12 million jobs depending on this strategic industry, has been hit particularly hard by the current economic crisis with new registrations down by 20 per cent and gloomy expectations for 2009. Due to its close links to other sectors and the wide spread of supply industry and vehicle trade, the negative economic effects reaches out to millions of employees in all EU Member States. In today's communication, the European Commission defends a proactive stance to support industry in their efforts to withstand the crisis, soften negative effects and ensure long-term competitiveness. Building on the European Economic Recovery Plan of 2008, it sets various measures to improve access to credit, to clarify the rules for granting state aid in the particular circumstances, to boost the demand for new vehicles through coordinated national action, to minimise social costs and retain the skilled workforce and to defend fair competition in open markets. The Commission suggests a new partnership with industry, trade unions and EU Member States in the context of the CARS 21 process to accompany the common crisis response.

EU sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals - briefing 19 February 2009, 23:53 CET
Questions and Answers on sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals

European Enterprise Awards 13 February 2009, 00:10 CET
Policies that promote entrepreneurship and create a favourable environment for business, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, are crucial if the European Union is to rise to its number one challenge of stimulating economic growth and creating new jobs. The European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen launched in November 2005 the European Enterprise Awards, which recognise and reward outstanding initiatives that support entrepreneurship at the regional level.

Services Directive: General improvement, but concerns over impact - EUROCHAMBRES survey 06 February 2009, 00:05 CET
On the occasion of a Czech Presidency conference on the future of services in Prague today, Secretary General Arnaldo Abruzzini presented the findings of the 4th EUROCHAMBRES survey on the implementation of the Services Directive.

On-line tool for SME funding 29 January 2009, 23:21 CET
This tool aims to present the main European funding programmes available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and contains brief information as well as the main web sites for each programme. Please note that the information included is not exhaustive.

Review of the VAT invoicing rules 29 January 2009, 15:07 CET
The European Commission has adopted a proposal to change the EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC in respect to the invoicing rules, based on a Communication on the technological developments in the field of electronic invoicing. The aim of the proposal is to increase the use of electronic invoicing, reduce burdens on business, support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and help EU Member States to tackle fraud. The proposal simplifies, modernises and harmonises the VAT invoicing rules. In particular, it eliminates the current barriers to e-invoicing in the VAT Directive by treating paper and electronic invoices equally. The proposal is a key element of the Commission's Action Programme to reduce burdens on business by 25% by 2012, and is part of the Commission's strategy to combat VAT fraud more efficiently.