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Communication on improving conditions for the transfer of SMEs

The European Commission has adopted a communication on the transfer of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The communication summarizes the results of an evaluation of the effects of the Commission Recommendation of December 1994 on the transfer of SMEs. The aim of this...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on the transfer of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The communication summarizes the results of an evaluation of the effects of the Commission Recommendation of December 1994 on the transfer of SMEs. The aim of this Recommendation was to combat business failures caused by unsuccessful transfers to the next generation or by way of sale to third parties.

The current situation has been summarized by Commissioner Papoutsis who stated, "In spite of the measures taken so far by the Member States, there is much room for improvement with regard to the transfer of enterprises". He also stated that the Commission would support further initiatives, particularly in the field of information, awareness-raising and training. The communication presents four types of measures on which emphasis should be put:

- Improvement of the legal environment to eliminate obstacles in relation to the conversion of the legal form of the business. The concepts of "simplified" and "single member" public limited companies should also be introduced;
- Improvement of the tax environment especially with regard to inheritance and gift tax rates;
- Improvement of the support measures available such as financial support in the form of venture capital or loan guarantee funds. The Commission has already adopted a proposal aimed at improving access to finance for SMEs;
- Establishment of cross-border networks of potential buyers and sellers in order to match the supply and demand for the take-over of business.

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