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European Law Monitor newsThe European Commission´s commitment to small enterprises: Small Business Act

On 31st of January, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the content of a European "Small Business Act". Its objective is to put small and medium sized enterprises at the forefront of decision-making in the EU and to introduce concrete measures to unlock the SMEs' growth potential. It will include new initiatives to reduce regulatory burden on SMEs, facilitate access to Single Market/public procurement, help provide necessary financial/human resources for SME development and help SMEs face the challenge of globalization and climate change. The preparation of a "Small Business Act" for Europe is one of the key measures announced in the Commission's package for the next cycle of the Growth and Jobs Strategy adopted last December. The consultation will be open until the end of March. A Public hearing on the Small Business Act will take place on 6 February in Brussels.

Commenting on the launch of the public consultation, Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "The crucial role of SMEs and entrepreneurs for Europe's competitiveness has now been well recognised. With the SBA we aim at fully unlocking this immense potential. But for this we need to know about all the problems to solve, all the opportunities to seize. Every opinion matters and I call on everyone to contribute".

The document underpinning the consultation identified six areas to be examined, but other areas can emerge from the public consultation:

       * Better regulation for the benefit of SMEs
       * Putting SMEs at the forefront of society
       * SMEs access to markets
       * SMEs access to finance, skills and innovation
       * Turning the environmental challenge into opportunities for SMEs
       * Enhancing the implementation of EU SME policy principles.

The European Commission aims at proposing the "Small Business Act" for Europe in June this year.

A Public hearing on Small Business Act for Europe will take place on Wednesday, 6th February 2008, at 14.00, in Centre Borschette building, Brussels, Belgium. The public hearing is open to all relevant stakeholders with presentations of Vice-President Verheugen and Slovenian EU Presidency. José Manuel Barroso, President of European Commission will deliver the concluding remarks.

More information on the consultation can be found on the SME portal

More information on the public hearing

The consultation documents can be found on: