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SMEs in the EU

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

EU cuts red tape for awarding EU funds
New implementing rules for EU funds will simplify access to EU funding and cut associated administrative burdens, particularly for SMEs.

EU cuts red tape for awarding EU funds
New implementing rules for EU funds will simplify access to EU funding and cut associated administrative burdens, particularly for SMEs.

EU Transparency Initiative
The purpose of this corner is to give a small overview on the Transparency Initiative – an idea, which among other goals aims to increase openness and accessibility of EU institutions, raise awareness over the use of the EU budget and make the Union's institutions more accountable to the public. The site will be constantly updated as the debate progresses, providing you with fresh information on the outcomes of the debates and future plans.

EU excise duties on commercial diesel – Frequently Asked Questions
The new proposal is based on the fact that existing tax differentials on diesel used by trucks ("commercial gas oil") create distortions of competition within the liberalised Internal Market of the haulage sector. In addition, they lead to "fuel tourism", where truck drivers alter their routes in order to benefit from low tax rates applied in certain Member States, thereby having a negative impact on the environment. In consequence, the Commission’s proposal aims at narrowing these differentials while reducing environmental damages.

Questions and answers on EU Consumer Policy strategy 2007-2013
Commissioner Meglena Kuneva on 13 March set out more than 20 legislative and non legislative initiatives to boost the retail side of the European Union's Single Market by 2013. The Commission says this will move forwards in the coming months with: a comprehensive overhaul of cross border shopping rights, an in-depth assessment of how best to strengthen consumer collective redress; new proposals to strengthen the Timeshare Directive; and a pledge to open the market for better cross border deals for credit (Consumer Credit Directive). The new Consumer Strategy 2007-2013 aims to boost confidence in the Single Market so that consumers can shop freely across borders - travelling or online – to get the best price, the best quality and for the product best suited to their needs.

2007 report on equality between women and men
2006 saw two major events with a bearing on gender equality in the EU: the adoption by the Commission of the Roadmap for equality between women and men for the period 2006-2010, and the adoption by the European Council of the Pact for Gender Equality. These two key initiatives testify to the EU's continued commitment to achieving genuine equality between women and men.

Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise
This study was commissioned by the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission in December 2005 and undertaken by the UK National Centre for Languages, in collaboration with an international team of researchers. Its objective was to provide the Commission and decision-takers in Member States with practical information and analysis of the use of language skills by SMEs and the impact on business performance.

European Commission action against cartels – Questions and answers
The European Commission defines a cartel as being an illegal secret agreement concluded between competitors to fix prices, restrict supply and/or divide up markets.

Internal Market Scoreboard
The Internal Market Scoreboard examines how quickly and how well each of the EU Member States writes Single Market directives into national law. It also highlights the number of infringements proceedings that are underway against Member States.

Smoke-free options - Green Paper
Green Paper - Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level

REACH EU chemicals policy - Q&A
Questions and Answers on the European Union's new Chemicals policy, REACH

Restriction of Hazardous Substances EU Directive
RoHS is the acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, the European Union (EU) directive (Directive 2002/95/EC) which bans new electrical and electronic equipment from being placed on the EU market if they contain more than agreed levels of certain hazardous substances.

EU regional funding: eligible regions
Eligible regions and financial allocations - Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 factsheet. For information about eligible regions and financial allocations click on a country on the map.

Revised rules on "de minimis" State aid made more SME-friendly - UEAPME
UEAPME, the European SMEs' employers organisation, welcomed the amended rules on "de minimis" State aid as published by the European Commission today (Wednesday). By allowing loan guarantee schemes for SMEs up to a maximum of 1.7 million EUR, the Commission is ensuring the endurance of the most important and successful instruments for SME finance to date, which were under a serious threat in previous versions of the regulation.

Corporate Social Responsibility for SMEs: Documentation Centre
On these European Commission pages you can find a brief introduction to some of the simple steps that companies can take to integrate corporate social responsibility into their daily business practices. It highlights ways in which corporate social responsibility can make your business more successful.

Corporate Social Responsibility in the EU
Companies throughout the European Union are showing growing awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in business.

Fighting Spam in the EU
The EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive applies to the processing of personal data in connection with the provision of public electronic communication networks and service and thereby requires the Member States to create obligations for anyone involved in the forms of processing addressed by the Directive.

EU Copyright Directive
The 2001 EU directive extended copyright protection to the Internet and other new media.

VAT Invoicing Rules in the EU
EU Council Directive 2001/115/EC harmonises, simplifies and modernises invoicing obligations on traders when they sell goods or services that are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT). It also creates an EU legal framework for electronic transmission and storage of invoices.

Business & Enterprise in the EU
While modern and often successful, European business and industry knows it cannot afford to rest on their laurels. It is a constant challenge to remain competitive, and keep up with technology, and the pace of growth in competing countries. Meeting the challenge successfully is essential for sustainable growth and for our greater prosperity. EU enterprise policy plays its part by fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in manufacturing and services.

Employment and Social Affairs in the EU
More and better jobs and equal opportunities are the watchwords of European employment and social policy. A function of the European Commission is to make sure that everyone is equipped for change as the EU evolves into a more competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy. The main framework is a Social Policy Agenda designed to link economic, employment and social policies, whilst at the same time ensuring that these policies are environmentally sustainable.

EU consumer rights
Consumers in the European Union now have a number of common basic rights if they shop across EU borders.

European Investment Fund
The activities of the European Investment Fund (EIF) are centred upon two areas, venture capital and guarantees. EIF's venture capital instruments consist of equity investments in venture capital funds and business incubators that support SMEs, particularly those that are early stage and technology-oriented; EIF's guarantee instruments consist of providing guarantees to financial institutions that cover credits to SMEs.

Free movement of workers in the EU
Every citizen of the EU has the right to work and live in another Member State without being discriminated against on grounds of nationality.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
EU-OSHA is the European Union information agency for occupational safety and health. Its work contributes to the European Commission's Strategic Framework for Safety and Health at work 2014-2020 and other relevant EU strategies and programmes, such as Europe 2020.