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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.
The Observatory of European SMEs was established by the Commission in December 1992 in order to improve monitoring of the economic performance of SMEs in Europe. Its task is to provide information on SMEs at the national and European level.
The reports of the Observatory provide an overview of the current situation in the SME sector in Europe through statistics on the number of enterprises, on total employment, and on production by size of enterprise. In addition, the Observatory reports cover a range of thematic issues.
The Observatory of European SMEs covers 19 countries: the 15 countries of the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
In 2003 and 2004, the following reports are planned:
- Competence Development in SMEs
- SMEs and Access to Finance
- SMEs in Europe 2003
- Highlights from the 2003 Survey
- Internationalisation of SMEs
- SMEs and Co-operation
- The Impact of EU Enlargement on European SMEs
- SMEs and the Liberalisation of Network Industries
The research for the Observatory reports is carried out on behalf of the Enterprise Directorate-General of the European Commission by ENSR, the European Network for SME Research, co-ordinated by EIM Business & Policy Research from the Netherlands in a consortium led by KPMG Special Services from the Netherlands.
The Observatory of European SMEs is managed in the Enterprise Directorate-General by Unit A-5, 'Competitiveness Analysis and Benchmarking'.

Additional information

Authors: AUDRETSCH D B, Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems, Jena (DE);THURIK A R, Erasmus University, Rotterdam (NL);KWAAK T, EIM Business & Policy Research, Zoetermeer (NL);BOSMA N, EIM Business & Policy Research, Zoetermeer (NL)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2004. 92pp Euro: 15
Availability: EUR-OP reference: NB-AM-03-017-EN-C Available from European Commission, Enterprise DG Unit A6 - Co-ordination of Enterprise Policy Fax: +32 2 296 6284 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-5996-4
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