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Due to their considerable economic role, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) have been the subject of specific Community policies or initiatives for a number of years, in particular through the implementation of an enterprise policy whose main objectives are the improvement of the business environment and the development of SMEs. This policy builds both on the European Charter for Small enterprises, which is a key instrument of political encouragement and follow-up and, at an operational level, on the multi-annual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and in particular for SMEs.
Many other policy areas, such as regional policy, research, vocational training or information society, also aim to improve SMEs’ situation and competitiveness. These policies in favour of SMEs contribute to the implementation of the strategy to strengthen European competitiveness, initiated in Lisbon at the European Council of March 2000. Indeed, the latter depends partly on Europe’s capacity to become more entrepreneurial, i.e. to encourage the creation of new companies, to make SMEs more competitive and to encourage their growth, all of which corresponds to the objectives of the Action Plan for Entrepreneurship adopted in February 2004.
In addition, within the framework of the various policies developed by the European Union, Community legislation has a growing impact on the life of enterprises, and in particular on that of SMEs, for whom compliance can be more difficult than for other companies.
For this reason the European Union committed itself to carry out a systematic impact assessment of its legislative projects, which is intended to improve the quality of legislation and take better account of SMEs’ interests in it.

Additional information

Authors: No author stated, European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005, 44 pp, free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: NB-63-04-901-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-8143-9
Record Number: 200618421 / Last updated on: 2005-12-19
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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