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Enterprises are at the heart of the strategy launched by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000. Reaching the objective of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth, creating more and better jobs, and developing greater social cohesion will ultimately depend on the success of enterprises, especially small- and medium-sized ones.
This report summarises the main results of the 8th round of the Observatory for European SMEs, which was carried out in the period from July 2003 to June 2004. In this round, the Observatory has been dealing with some of the main challenges and questions facing European SMEs in these years. One of the conditions to achieve the Lisbon objective is to develop a business environment in which enterprises can survive and grow and it is imperative for public policy to identify and take into account the conditions for SMEs in the European economy as a whole and in the Single Market in particular. In the European Union more than 99 % of all enterprises are SMEs. So, a debate about entrepreneurship and enterprise policy is mainly a debate about SMEs. Furthermore, SMEs provide jobs for almost 100 million people, or over 2/3 of total private employment in Europe-19. With the indirect impact through taxation of their profits and wages, etc., European SMEs are a fundamental pillar of the European welfare states.

Additional information

Authors: SNIJDERS J, EIM Business & Policy Research, Zoetermeer (NL);VAN LIN M, EIM Business & Policy Research, Zoetermeer (NL);VAN DER HORST R, EIM Business & Policy Research, Zoetermeer (NL)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2004. 52pp Euro: 15
Availability: EUR-OP reference: NB-AM-03-018-EN-C Available from European Commission, Enterprise DG Unit A6 - Co-ordination of Enterprise Policy Fax: +32 2 296 6284 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-5999-9
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