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Commission report on coordination of activities in favour of SMEs

The European Commission has recently published its fourth report on the coordination of activities to assist SMEs and the craft sector. The report gives an overview of all EU activities, both those aimed at improving the business environment for SMEs and the programmes and mea...
The European Commission has recently published its fourth report on the coordination of activities to assist SMEs and the craft sector. The report gives an overview of all EU activities, both those aimed at improving the business environment for SMEs and the programmes and measures giving support to SMEs.

According to Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, responsible for enterprise policy, "The report demonstrates the progress made but acknowledges that coordination efforts can still be strengthened." He intends to continue the Commission's efforts to improve this coordination. "Although SME policy is essentially in the hands of the Member States, the Commission can still play a major role," he said. "But the mobilization of all partners is essential to convert the political priorities into concrete realities."

The 1997 report shows the progress made since the first report was drawn up in 1992. Measures have been put in place to assess the impact of new Community legislation on SMEs as well as to simplify existing legislation. The BEST task force has been set up since the Amsterdam European Council in June 1997 with the aim of simplifying the business environment, particularly for SMEs.

Support measures include the networks which assist SMEs in finding information about Community activities and in finding partners in other European countries (Euro Info Centres, BC-NET and BRE) and the programmes which support international meetings where SMEs can find partners to develop their businesses (EUROPARTENARIAT, INTERPRISE and IBEX). A wide range of other programmes and measures including the Fourth RTD Framework Programme, the Structural Funds and education and training programmes have also provided significant support to SMEs in the EU. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has doubled the volume of its global loans to promote the competitiveness of SMEs between 1993 and 1996, with the number of SMEs benefiting also doubling.

Source: European Commission, Secretariat General

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