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SMEs Guides

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Guides on the EU Enterprise policy for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
SME Performance Review - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 16 October 2012, 14:18 CET
The European Commission on 15 October released results of the SME Performance Review 2012 report, together with fact sheets describing SMEs' progress in all EU Members States. Despite the challenging environment, SMEs stood their ground as the backbone of the European economy, accounting for more than 98% of all enterprises with some 20.7 million firms and more than 87 million people employees. The lion’s share (92.2%) of SMEs is represented by micro firms with fewer than ten employees. It is estimated that SMEs account for 67% of total employment and 58% of gross value added (GVA). Trends in Member States are increasingly divergent and there has yet to be a positive signal on the employment front. In this fragile situation, decisive policy action to tackle the factors that determine SME growth may tip the balance.
New industrial revolution communication by EUbusiness — last modified 10 October 2012, 17:42 CET
Europe needs to reverse the declining role of industry for the 21st century with the aim to deliver sustainable growth, create high-value job and solve societal challenge that we face. Immediate action should contribute to reverse the current downward trend from its current level of 15.6% of EU GDP to as much as 20% by 2020. Therefore the Commission proposes a number of priority actions to stimulate investments in new technologies, to improve the business environment, to access to markets and to finance, particularly for SMEs, and ensure that skills meet industry’s needs. Europe's industry is well placed to assume this role: Europe is a world-leader in many strategic sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, engineering, space, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Industry still accounts for 4/5 of Europe's exports and 80% of both Europe's exports and of private sector R&D investment comes from manufacturing. If confidence comes back, and with it new investments, Europe's industry can perform better and start growing again. This is the core message of a communication tabled by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani in Brussels today. The actions proposed by this Communication should also contribute to reduce competiveness gap across Member States and EU regions.
EU late payment campaign by EUbusiness — last modified 05 October 2012, 17:48 CET
Every year across Europe thousands of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) go bankrupt waiting for their invoices to be paid. Yet late payment of bills is often seen by many as a perfectly acceptable practice. To end this damaging culture of late payment in Europe, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani launched today in Rome an information campaign across all 27 EU Member States and Croatia, to encourage speedy incorporation of the Late Payment Directive into national law, even before the absolute deadline on 16th March 2013.
European enterprise promotion awards 2012 by EUbusiness — last modified 04 October 2012, 16:11 CET
Fourteen projects have been shortlisted for the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). Over 402 projects competed in this year’s national competitions for a chance to enter. Slightly more than in 2011, the Awards also received entries from a record-breaking 30 European countries - all 27 EU Member States as well as Croatia, Serbia and Turkey. A high-level jury representing business, government and academia reviewed the 57 national winner entries and established a shortlist of 14 nominees in five categories. The winners for each of the five categories will be announced at the first ever SME Assembly on 15 November 2012 in Cyprus, to which all nominees will be invited. One project will also receive the prestigious Grand Jury Prize.
Single Market Act II: twelve priority actions for new growth by EUbusiness — last modified 03 October 2012, 18:28 CET
This year being the 20th anniversary of the Single Market, the European Commission on 3 October adopted Single Market Act II, putting forward twelve key actions for rapid adoption by the EU institutions. These actions are concentrated on four main drivers for growth, employment and confidence: a) integrated networks, b) cross border mobility of citizens and businesses, c) the digital economy, and d) actions that reinforce cohesion and consumer benefits.
The top 10 most burdensome legislative acts for SMEs - consultation by EUbusiness — last modified 02 October 2012, 19:27 CET
Complaints are often aired about the red tape created by European law. The European Commission says it wants to cut red tape; and that it can cut red tape. However, it admits there is a definite lack of concrete proposals to reduce this burden. With this in mind, the Commission is calling upon businesses: "Let us know what could be done better - we would like your ideas for reducing red tape!" — the leitmotif of a consultation launched today by the Commission. This consultation process for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and their representative organisations, will help to identify the top ten EU legislative acts considered most burdensome by micro-companies and SMEs. It will run until 21 December 2012, and once complete, the Commission will analyse the results and consider how situation for SMEs could be improved.
Design for Growth and Prosperity by EUbusiness — last modified 20 September 2012, 17:42 CET
In order to fully exploit the design's potential to boost innovation, growth and job creation, the European Commission has set up the European Design Innovation Initiative. Its policy recommendations - the report "Design for Growth and Prosperity" were presented to Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani at the European Design Innovation Summit in Helsinki, the World Design Capital in 2012.
Electronic identification, signatures and trust services - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 05 June 2012, 22:48 CET
The European Commission has proposed new rules to enable cross-border and secure electronic transactions in Europe. The proposed Regulation will ensure people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (e-IDs) to access public services in other EU countries where e-IDs are available. It also creates an internal market for e-Signatures and related online trust services across borders, by ensuring these services will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper based processes. This will give full effect to the major potential savings of eProcurement. The proposal fully respects both existing national ID systems and the preferences of those Member States without national ID schemes. It allows countries with e-ID to opt-in or to remain outside of the European scheme. Once a Member State notifies that they wish to join the pan-European scheme, they must offer the same access to public services via e-ID that they offer to their own citizens.
Access to finance by Ina Dimireva — last modified 29 May 2012, 00:42 CET
A guide on the financial support available to businesses in Cyprus.
Doing business in Slovenia: Sustainability by Ina Dimireva — last modified 17 May 2012, 01:25 CET
The Slovenian Development Strategy is the document that provides businesses with guidance on how to become more sustainable.
Doing business in Portugal: Environmental rules by Ina Dimireva — last modified 01 May 2012, 16:34 CET
Businesses in Portugal are obliged to comply with certain environmental legislation in order to be able to operate.
Doing business in Portugal: Staff welfare by Ina Dimireva — last modified 01 May 2012, 15:58 CET
The Portuguese Labour Code defines the workplace rules applicable to the employees of a business.
Doing business in Luxembourg: Sustainability by Ina Dimireva — last modified 01 May 2012, 23:00 CET
Even though legislation in Luxembourg does not oblige businesses to adopt sustainability practices, the government gives advice on how improving companies' corporate social responsibility can be beneficial for them.
Doing business in Luxembourg: Environmental rules by Ina Dimireva — last modified 29 April 2012, 17:39 CET
Legislation in Luxembourg obliges businesses to comply with environmental rules in order to reduce their negative impact on the environment.
Doing business in Luxembourg: Staff welfare by Ina Dimireva — last modified 28 April 2012, 13:23 CET
The Labour Code in Luxembourg covers employee rights regarding health and safety in the workplace, discrimination, recruitment, dismissal, and employment contracts.
Doing business in Lithuania: Environmental rules by Ina Dimireva — last modified 27 April 2012, 23:16 CET
Legislation in Lithuania has set out environmental rules that businesses have to follow in order to be able to operate.
Doing business in Lithuania: Staff welfare by Ina Dimireva — last modified 27 April 2012, 22:01 CET
This guide outlines the major social rules on staff welfare in Lithuania.
Doing business in Lithuania: Sustainability by Ina Dimireva — last modified 27 April 2012, 23:21 CET
Several legal acts in Lithuania regulate sustainable development. However, businesses can voluntariliy choose whether to undertake corporate social initiatives.
Doing business in Latvia: Sustainability by Ina Dimireva — last modified 25 April 2012, 22:22 CET
Many companies in Latvia have incorporated corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their practice and voluntarily contribute to social development and environmental protection.
A strategy for e-Procurement - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 26 April 2012, 16:55 CET
In the context of the modernisation of the European Public procurement Directives, adopted in December 2011, the European Commission has proposed to make e-procurement the rule rather than the exception, by making it the standard method of procurement in the EU by mid-2016.