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Enterprise Directorate-General

On 1 January 2000 the new Enterprise Directorate-General came into force, combining the old Industry Directorate-General (ex DG III), and the DG responsible for smaller enterprises and services (ex DG XXIII), with the Innovation Directorate which belonged with Information Soci...
On 1 January 2000 the new Enterprise Directorate-General came into force, combining the old Industry Directorate-General (ex DG III), and the DG responsible for smaller enterprises and services (ex DG XXIII), with the Innovation Directorate which belonged with Information Society and Telecommunications in the old Directorate-General XIII.

The idea behind the reorganisation was to combine policies affecting all enterprises in order to help them create jobs.

The merger should result in a reduction of 20 per cent of personnel at all levels, in line with the overall reform policy of the Prodi Commission.

The new mission statement of the Enterprise Directorate-General puts small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), often referred to as the 'engine of job creation', at the heart of enterprise policy.

'The mission of the Enterprise Directorate-General is to promote a business environment in which European enterprises can fully realise their potential as an engine of economic growth and job creation in the European Union.

'This mission applies to all enterprises, irrespective of size, sector or organisation, but with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent the vast majority of enterprises in the Union.'

Dr Olli Rehn, head of Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen's private office, explained the changes recently to representatives of the European Parliament. He said the reorganisation reflected 'a comprehensive but focused approach', addressing the causes of 'Europe's well-known inability to create jobs'.

There are three main principles underlying the reorganisation, according to Dr Rehn. All enterprises and industries will be accounted for, however, enterprise policy will now be focussed particularly on SMEs and the service industries which will have their own Directorates. The enterprise environment will also be targeted, with specific policies on education, training, the legal and regulatory framework, research and innovation, and enterprise networks.

The Commission has great plans for its new Enterprise DG. A new multiannual programme for enterprises will be drawn up for the years 2000-2006, including two focused communications on subcontracting and on education and training for entrepreneurship. Later in the year the 'Competitiveness Report 2000' will examine key European policies affecting enterprises with a view to forming a 'concrete policy instrument' for encouraging a better enterprise environment.

Dr Rehn says the first challenge of these policy documents will be 'to reinforce Europe's still too weak entrepreneurial culture. To enhance a truly entrepreneurial culture, Europe must review its attitude towards risk, reward and failure.'

The second challenge is to cut back on bureaucracy, making regulations as light and simple as possible. This is particularly important for SMEs who have not the personnel or resources to deal with mounds of paperwork, and Dr Rehn promised the new DG would 'think small first' to avoid undue burdens.

Another issue for the Directorate-General to take up is the need to accelerate the take-up of e-commerce, particularly among SMES. Dr Rehn said a number of legal initiatives are underway at EU level to encourage this, and 'their rapid adoption and implementation should be a priority'. The Commission is also set to introduce the Digital Initiative to foster e-commerce.

One of the principle elements of the new Enterprise Directorate-General is innovation policy. The decision to include this area was based on the need to link innovation with enterprise and entrepreneurship in order to encourage job creation and help enterprises remain successful and competitive.

An official from the Innovation Directorate said: 'We have not broken the link with research because we are still part of the Fifth Framework Programme. However innovation is above all a matter for enterprise.

'It makes sense because a lot of the barriers to innovation are not necessarily technological. Often they are, for example, financial or related to intellectual property rights, so the main issues are on the enterprise side.'

The reorganisation has also involved a change in personnel. Fabio Colosanti takes over as the Director-General of the Enterprise Directorate-General. He was formerly deputy head of Prodi's cabinet, and previously in the Directorate-General for Budgets. Magnus Lemmel, who was Deputy Director General of the Industry DG, is one Deputy Director-General responsible for the Directorates for SMEs, innovation and the single market. Whereas Jörn Keck, previously Director of Industrial Policy in DG III, is Deputy Director General responsible for services, environmental aspects and conformity and standardisation.

There are a total of seven Directorates within the new DG. Their full titles are:

- Directorate A - Enterprise Policy
- Directorate B - Promotion of Entrepreneurship and SMEs
- Directorate C - Innovation
- Directorate D - Services, Commerce and Tourism
- Directorate E - Environmental aspects of enterprise policy, resource-based and specific industries
- Directorate F - Single market, regulatory environment, industries under vertical legislation
- Directorate G - Conformity and standardisation, new approach, industries under new approach

Source: European Commission, Enterprise Directorate-General

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