EU Consults On Better Conditions For Small Businesses

EU Plans To Update The Small Business Act

12.09.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

SMEs in Britain and elsewhere could be better served by the way the EU regulates them, the European Commission has acknowledged.

It has launched a Europe-wide consultation to seek the views of SMEs across the 28-nation bloc on how the Small Business Act (SBA) can be "upgraded" to do more to "make life easier" for smaller firms.

The announcement stated that it wanted to revise the law with regard to "best practices, support for internationalisation and entrepreneurship", as well as matters like access to finance - the latter being a common concern for UK firms in recent years amid a reluctance from banks to lend.

Speaking about the initiative, commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship Ferdinando Nelli Feroci commented: "As Europe continues on the road to recovery, we need to ensure the EU's Small Business Act is still fit for purpose.

"I therefore invite all parties interested in SMEs to make their views known. The Commission wants your ideas and is ready to listen to your comments."

The Commission has listed what it calls five "pillars" underlying its drive to help SMEs enjoy a more favourable business environment.

Firstly, it has noted the issue of finance and the fact that even as the outlook is more positive for many companies, they are still struggling to access the cash to invest.

Other areas include increasing access to markets, particularly new ones overseas that have not yet been fully tapped. Supporting emerging entrepreneurship is also listed as important, particularly as a means of curbing youth unemployment.

Finally, better regulation and an increase in the skills of entrepreneurs and their staff will also be addressed.

All this could mean that the ideas of SMEs all over Europe will help drive a new plan to make it easier for them to get on and contribute to economic growth, with the consultation going on until December 15th.

SMEs in the UK will most likely be doing rather better than their continental counterparts, as Britain's economy is performing better.

In the second quarter of 2014, the UK saw economic growth of 0.8 per cent, but in the eurozone it was nil, with Germany witnessing a contraction, very low growth in France and Italy back in recession.

Expert Opinion
So many small businesses have a positive outlook after a difficult few years and it is welcome to see authorities in Europe assessing what can be done to better this community.

"The UK government believes that small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and intrinsic to the continued recovery, so the European Commission’s action on the matter reflects a similar view.

"We would urge any small businesses considering their future plans to always speak to legal specialists for advice and support on taking their next steps, with the ultimate aim of ensuring their plans are robust and comprehensive."
Steven Beahan, Partner