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SMEs Guides

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Guides on the EU Enterprise policy for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Standards on transparency and fairness for online platforms
The European Commission proposed on 26 April new rules for the online platforms providing small businesses with a safety net in the digital economy.
A stronger and more competitive European retail sector
The EU Commission published on 19 April a set of best practices to support Member States' efforts to create a more open, integrated and competitive retail sector.
VentureEU: Pan-European Venture Capital Funds-of-Funds Programme
The European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) launched on 10 April a Pan-European Venture Capital Funds-of-Funds programme (VentureEU) to boost investment in innovative start-up and scale-up companies across Europe.
Cross-border payments
The European Commission proposed on 28 March to make cross-border payments in euro cheaper across the entire EU.
VAT for small businesses and setting VAT rates - background guide
The European Commission proposed on 18 January new rules to give EU Member States more flexibility to set Value Added Tax (VAT) rates and to create a better tax environment to help SMEs flourish.
Cross-border parcel delivery
EU negotiators reached a provisional agreement on 13 December 2017 to make prices for cross-border parcel delivery services more transparent and affordable and to increase regulatory oversight of the EU parcel market.
Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement
The European Commission presented on 29 November 2017 measures to ensure that intellectual property rights are well protected, thereby encouraging European companies, in particular SMEs and start-ups, to invest in innovation and creativity.
Public procurement initiative
To strengthen the Single Market and as part of the continuous effort to stimulate investment in the EU, the European Commission has put forward an initiative to carry out procurement more efficiently and in a sustainable manner, while making full use of digital technologies to simplify and accelerate procedures.
British SMEs face uncertain funding future
SMEs in Britain are increasingly concerned over their ability to gain funding in the run up to Brexit, a recent survey has revealed. The study, commissioned by specialist insurer Hiscox, has found that recent economic and political uncertainty has adversely affected business confidence, and caused concern for the future as Britain’s withdrawal from the EU becomes nearer. This should come as no surprise, as 38 percent of the 500 businesses surveyed admitted to accessing EU funding.
New EU rules to ensure safety of medical devices
Ranging from simple contact lenses and sticking plasters to sophisticated pacemakers and hip replacements, medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices are important to our health and quality of life. People rely on these devices every day and expect them to be safe and incorporate the latest progress in science and innovation. The current rules on the safety and performance of medical devices in the EU were harmonised in the 1990s. To reflect the substantial technological and scientific progress in this sector over the last 20 years, the European Commission proposed to update the rules to improve the safety of medical devices for EU citizens, create the conditions to modernise the sector and to consolidate its role as a global leader.
Revised shareholders' rights directive
The European Parliament approved on 14 March a report on the revision of the EU shareholders' rights directive. The final adoption step will take place in the European Council shortly. The directive will enter into force two years after its publication in the official journal.
European Account Preservation Order - faster, cheaper and more efficient debt recovery
Around 1 million smaller business (SMEs) in the EU face problems with cross-border debts. This is about EUR 600 million lost every year for these small companies.
Insolvency, Restructuring and Second Chance: proposal for a directive
The European Commission presented a set of European rules on business insolvency on 22 November.
EU Microfinance Support
Since the EU started its microfinance initiatives, more than 100 agreements have been signed with microfinance providers, to support over 100,000 micro-entrepreneurs in 23 EU Member States.
EU Data Protection Regulation: Where do businesses need to take action now?
After a protracted negotiation and design phase, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted by the European Parliament on 04/14/2016 and entered into force on 05/24/2016. After 20 years, data protection law is at a whole new level and particularly uniform for the European Union.
Overhaul for EU prospectus rules
The European Commission has proposed to overhaul prospectus rules to improve access to finance for companies and simplify information for investors. Small and medium-sized companies in particular will find it easier to raise funding when issuing shares or debt. Companies already listed on public markets will benefit when they want to list additional shares or issue corporate bonds.
Roadmap to a deeper and fairer Single Market
The European Commission presented on 28 October a roadmap to unleash the full potential of the Single Market and make it the launchpad for Europe to thrive in the global economy.
New status for single-member private limited liability companies
The EU presidency said on 28 May the Council has agreed on a compromise text for a draft directive aimed at creating a new status for single-member private limited liability companies.
EU trade mark reform package
The European Commission, European Parliament and Council reached provisional political agreement on 21 April on the EU's trade mark reform package. The agreed measures are set to make trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs, increased speed, more predictability and greater legal certainty. The Commission says the reform will improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including non-authentic goods in transit through the EU's territory.
SMEs and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - report
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has significant potential for small and medium sized enterprises, according to a report released in Brussels on 20 April. It presents the results of a survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) carried out in 2014 on challenges they face when exporting to the United States. It also uses newly available data to look at the scale of exports by EU SMEs to the United States.