The UK Government, alongside other European member states including Belgium and Italy, today welcomed publication of the European Commission’s Small Business Act Review
The three Member States have committed to working together in Europe to promote the interests of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and have urged the Commission to host a forum for small business ministers as part of a renewed focus on putting SMEs at the heart of European decisions.
In a joint statement they said:
“This Review sends a clear signal about the central importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European economy. The 2008 Small Business Act marked a milestone by committing Europe to put SMEs at the heart of decisions and created a useful policy tool for improving the conditions in which they operate. Almost three years after its adoption, it is helpful to take stock.
“As Europe faces the challenges of the 21st century, SMEs will play a vital role as engines of growth and jobs. We will continue to implement national policies to encourage enterprise and support our small businesses. And we will work together in Europe to remove barriers to success. Above all, we must ensure EU regulations do not place unnecessary burdens on our small businesses, that SMEs are able to secure the finance they need and that they can readily take advantage of new market opportunities.
“We call on the Commission to play its part in reinforcing the Small Business Act by: ensuring decisions taken in Brussels improve the operating environment for SMEs; and enabling a more transparent and regular exchange of ideas amongst member states. The Commission should host a forum for small business Ministers to share their experiences. This would create a practical mechanism to improve the visibility of SME policies across Europe, spread best practice and encourage effective action.”
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:
“I am delighted today to join my European counterparts in sending a strong message that Europe needs an SME-friendly business environment, enabling small businesses and entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions, without being stifled by unnecessary rules and regulations.
“I fully endorse the idea of an EU forum for small business Ministers and I look forward to meeting European Business Ministers to learn from one another’s experiences and examine how we can work together to unleash entrepreneurial talent and small business growth.”
Notes to editors:
1. The Commission’s review of the Small Business Act for Europe was published today:http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/small-business-act/index_en.htm
2. Adopted in June 2008, the Small Business Act for Europe (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0394:FIN:en:PDF) sets out the European Commission’s intention to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy and to put in place a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States. Through a set of ten principles and specific measures to take them forward at the EU and national level, it aims to anchor the "Think Small First" principle in policy making from regulation to public service, and to promote SME growth. EU member states endorsed the Small Business Act in December 2008 and agreed an action plan of priority actions in three areas:
- improving SME access to finance;
- a regulatory framework supportive of SMEs’ needs; and
- enhancing market access for SMEs.
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