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Community action in favour of SMEs and the craft industries

The Commission, at the proposal of Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for enterprise policy, has adopted a report on the coordination of activities in favour of SMEs and the craft industries.

The aim of this report is to give a global overview of the measures ta...
The Commission, at the proposal of Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for enterprise policy, has adopted a report on the coordination of activities in favour of SMEs and the craft industries.

The aim of this report is to give a global overview of the measures taken in favour of SMEs under the various policies of the European Union. The report was drawn up in response to a request from the European Council and is intended to help improve the visibility and transparency of Community measures in favour of SMEs.

Measures in favour of SMEs are divided into two main sectors:

- Actions to improve the legal, administrative, fiscal and financial environment for SMEs;
- Actions to support the development of SMEs.

In the first of these areas, the Commission has introduced a number of measures expected to have a positive impact on SMEs. These include:

- Recommendations relating to the taxation of SMEs, the transfer of businesses and payment periods in commercial transactions;
- An evaluation of the impact of legislative proposals on SMEs which has allowed the needs of SMEs to be taken into account in the legislative process;
- A special scheme to allow Member states to grant aid intended to promote investment in SMEs and encourage them to improve their skills through consultancy and training. This scheme falls within the context of a traditionally favourable attitude towards State aid in favour of SMEs.

With regard to Community actions in support of SMEs, a number of new instruments and programmes have been set up which are directly aimed at SMEs. As part of its enterprise policy, the Commission is supporting the development of SMEs through:

- The EuroInfoCentres network;
- The transnational cooperation networks and programmes (BC-NET, BCC, EUROPARTENARIAT and INTERPRISE);
- Measures in favour of subcontracting;
- Pilot projects aimed at improving the management and financial know-how of SMEs (EUROMANAGEMENT, Seed Capital, Commerce2000).

Under other Community policies, SMES are supported primarily through the structural funds and the Community's specific programmes for research and technological development (through the ADAPT programme and specific measures in favour of SMEs within the other specific programmes), vocational training (LEONARDO DA VINCI) and international cooperation (PHARE, TACIS, MED-INVEST).

Commenting on the report, Commissioner Papoutsis said that the Commission would continue its efforts, both internally and in collaboration with the Member States, the European institutions all its partners, to ensure that EU actions to assist SMEs would produce growth, competitiveness and employment.
DE

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