Archive pour la catégorie ‘New technologies’

The European Parliament wants tighter controls for phytosanitary products

Jeudi 19 janvier 2012

The main objective is to reduce hazards on the environment and human health.

Safer sofas

The updated legislation closes a loophole so that treated products - such as furniture sprayed with fungicide or anti-bacterial kitchen worktops - will be included under the rules and labelled. Agricultural pesticides will continue to be covered by other EU legislation.

Restricting harmful substances

The most problematic substances - such as those that are carcinogenic, affect genes or hormones or are toxic to reproduction - should in principle be banned. Exceptions should only be made in Member States where strictly necessary, for example if a biocide is needed to safeguard against a specific danger to health. Approvals and renewals will be time-limited, while safer alternatives are developed.

Concerned about possible risks of nanotechnology, MEPs secured separate safety checks and labelling for products containing nano-sized materials.

Opening up the market

The new legislation further harmonises the EU market for biocidal products and sets deadlines for applications to be assessed. The recognition of approvals among Member States will be improved and the possibility to apply for authorisation at EU level will be phased in from 2013, becoming possible for most biocidal products by 2020.

Reducing animal testing

To avoid duplicating tests on animals, companies will be required to share data in exchange for fair compensation

The European Commission launches public debate on corporate restructuring.

Mardi 17 janvier 2012

European Commission launches until March 30, a major campaign of public consultation and a Green Paper on the subject.

The aim is to identify successful practices and policies in the field of restructuring and adapting to change. The results will feed into the upcoming employment package and should help to improve further cooperation between workers and employers’ representatives, government, local and regional authorities and the EU institutions. The consultation will also help identify specific restructuring measures that could help deal with employment and social challenges, and help European companies improve competitiveness through innovation and a fast, but smooth adaptation to change.

Restructuring is part of business life and one of the important ways of helping a company stay competitive. The economic and financial crisis has put an extra strain on business: from 2002 to 2010, over 11,000 cases of restructuring were recorded by the European Restructuring Monitor, with a ratio of almost two jobs lost for every one created (1.8:1). Between 2008/2010, this ratio has increased to 2.5:1. Many companies and their workers have developed innovative arrangements to limit job losses. Here, social partners have played a key role. These initiatives have varied from working hours, to more social dialogue, to adjustment measures or the intervention of public employment services. However, these may be less effective in a context of persistently weak demand.

László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion presented the new Green Paper saying: ‘To be able to react better in the future, we have to understand the reasons behind the success of some measures in some countries, or sectors during the crisis. We have to look at how measures, like for example short-time work, can be used to deal with the challenges we are likely to face in the coming period”. He added “We also want to see how we can best anticipate the employment and skills needs of the future, especially in the light of new challenges and growing social inequalities across Member States. And last, but not least, we want to see how the social impact of restructuring can be limited.’

The Commissioner also stressed how the EU stands ready to help and support Member States through the cohesion policy in particular the European Social Fund as well as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Content of the Green Paper:
The Green Paper includes several questions. In particular, it addresses the following issues:

- Lessons from the crisis – are existing policy measures and practices adequate? What are the success factors and future challenges? How have short time working schemes functioned during the crisis and how have they coped with a persistently weak demand?
- Economic and industrial adjustment – what are the relevant framework conditions and existing good practices on access to finance, to accompany structural adjustment?
- Adaptability of business and employability of workers – an anticipative approach best? Is there a possible need to update existing guidelines on restructuring and the means to ensure their implementation?
- Creating synergies in the process of industrial change – how to improve the synergies between companies, local authorities and other local actors? How to develop training as a permanent feature of human resources management?
- Role of regional and local authorities – how to encourage a supporting role of public authorities taking into account different national traditions?
- Impact of restructuring operations - what can be done by companies and employees to minimise the employment and social impact of restructuring operations and what role can public policies play in facilitating these changes?

The Green Paper is supported by the staff working document “Restructuring in Europe 2011″ Restructuring in Europe 2011, which draws on the main lessons learned in recent years on anticipation and management of change and restructuring.

The consultation period will run until 30 March 2012. During this period, anyone with an interest in the subject can submit their views via email or by post.

Background
Restructuring has been raised by the European Commission in its industrial policy flagship of October 2010, the flagship initiative ‘An Agenda for new skills and jobs’, as well as the Single Market Act. The Commission wishes to renew the debate on restructuring in the light of the lessons learned from recent experience.

The outcome of this consultation will feed into the upcoming employment package and the revived flexicurity agenda. It could lead to a renewed debate at EU level on a possible new framework for restructuring.

The employment is created thanks to SMEs

Lundi 16 janvier 2012

Between 2002 and 2010, 85% of new jobs were created in SMEs.

This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU’s business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year. These are the main results of a study on the essential contribution of SMEs on job creation presented by the European Commission today.

With 1% annually, the employment growth for SMEs was higher than for large enterprises with 0.5%. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy.

Secondly new firms (younger than five years) are responsible for an overwhelming majority of the new jobs. New enterprises operating in business services create more than a quarter (27%) of the new jobs, while the new firms in transport and communication contribute least (6%).

Main effects of the crisis: smaller enterprises report negative impacts more often
According to the results of the survey, the economic crisis has left its mark on enterprises from all size-classes, with micro firms being particularly vulnerable. As a result of the 2009/2010 economic crisis the number of jobs in the SME-sector has on average decreased by 2.4% annually, as against 0.95% annually in the large enterprises sector. Employment developments are still negative in 2010, but expectations for 2011 were improving at the time the survey was held. The share of firms that expected to lay off employees in 2011 was smaller than the share of firms that actually laid off employees in 2010.

Besides the employment effects, by far the most important negative effect of the crisis on firms is the overall decline of total demand for their products and services (mentioned by 62% of companies), followed by the increase in customer payment terms (mentioned by 48% of firms) and finally the shortage of working capital, which affected 31% of the respondents.

Innovativeness is a weapon against the crisis
Innovation seems to have a positive effect: innovative enterprises, as well as enterprises from more innovative countries, more often report employment growth and have higher employment growth rates.

The survey underlines that innovative SMEs or companies operating in more innovative economies suffered less from the economic crisis. For example, while the decline in overall demand is mentioned by 70% of enterprises in countries that are considered modest innovators2, the corresponding figure is 45% for countries which are innovation leaders.

Job quality in SMEs
The study distinguishes two broad dimensions of the job quality: employment quality and work quality. On average it is true that jobs in small enterprises are less productive, less remunerated, and less unionised than jobs in large enterprises. However, microenterprises report that they have a competitive advantage over their competitors as far as ’soft’ aspects of the human resource aspects of an enterprise are concerned: working climate, work-life balance, working-time arrangements.

Background
The study is part of the SME Performance Review project and based on a survey of enterprises conducted at the end of 2010 and covering the 27 EU member states and 10 other countries participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, namely Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey.

Green light for the EU Patent

Mardi 20 décembre 2011

The Legal Affairs Committee has approved today the single European patent system.

In three separate voting sessions, Legal Affairs Committee MEPs backed a political deal struck last 1 December between Parliament and Council negotiators on the so-called “EU patent package” (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court). If Parliament as a whole and the Council confirm the deal, a new EU patent will be created.

The negotiations were led, for Parliament, by committee chair Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE), Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, DE) and Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, IT). MEPs inserted some provisions, among others, to tailor the proposed regime to the needs of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs).

Cheaper and more effective protection

The new patent will be less expensive and more effective than current systems in protecting the inventions of individuals and firms. The new system would provide automatic unitary patent protection and substantially cut costs for EU firms and help boost their competitiveness. The European Commission says that when the new system is up to speed, an EU patent may cost just €680, compared to an average of €1,850 for an American one.

To obtain EU-wide protection today, a European inventor has to validate a patent in each EU Member State, through the European Patent Office (EPO), a non-EU body. This procedure entails costs, especially for translation, that can make a European patent 10 times more expensive than a US one.

A unified patent court, to be set up through an international agreement currently being negotiated by Member States, will also cut costs and reduce current legal uncertainty due to differing national interpretations.

How to apply for the new patent?

Any inventor would be able to apply for an EU patent ensuring protection in all the 25 EU Member States concerned. Patents will be made available in English, French and German, but applications may be submitted in any EU language. Translation costs from a language other than the three official ones would be compensated.

MEPs for SMEs

Thanks to Parliament, specific measures were agreed to facilitate SMEs’ access to the European patent market. These range from stronger legal protection to full compensation of translation costs. Parliament’s also obtained an improvement in the rules on how patent offices share renewal fees, upon which the economic sustainability of the whole system lies.

Next steps

Before the new regulation can enter into force, it must be endorsed by the full Parliament, possibly at the February plenary session, and the Council.

The legislation is being dealt under the so-called “enhanced cooperation procedure”, which allows groups of Member States to integrate policies further, even where others do not agree. Spain and Italy have so far opted out of work on the patent proposal, but could join the decision-making process at any time. This procedure was adopted to unblock the file, long stalled over language issues.

The European Commission promotes the mobility of European highly skilled people

Lundi 19 décembre 2011

The working age population declines in Europe and demand for qualified professionals should increase to 16 million people in 2020.

If Europe is to meet this demand, gaps in labour shortages need to be filled – for example through mobile and well qualified professionals from other EU Member States. They can be a key source of growth, but only if they can easily go to where jobs are and this requires their qualifications in the EU to be recognised in a fast, simple and reliable way. That is why the Commission has today adopted a proposal for modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC).

Today’s proposal aims at simplifying rules for the mobility of professionals within the EU by offering a European Professional Card to all interested professions which would allow easier and faster recognition of qualifications. It also clarifies the framework for consumers, by inviting Member States to review the scope of their regulated professions and by addressing public concerns about language skills and the lack of effective alerts about professional malpractice, notably in the health sector.

Key elements of the proposal:
1. The introduction of a European professional card will offer to interested professionals the possibility to benefit from easier and quicker recognition of their qualifications. It should also facilitate temporary mobility. The card will be made available according to the needs expressed by the professions (for example, nurses and mountain guides expressed a strong interest in using such a card). The card is associated to an optimised recognition procedure carried out within the existing Internal Market Information System (IMI) and will take the form of an electronic certificate, allowing the professional to provide services or become established in another Member State.

2. Better access to information on the recognition of professional qualifications: all citizens seeking the recognition of their professional qualifications should be able to go to a one-stop shop rather than being passed around between different government bodies. This one-stop shop should be the Points of Single Contact (PSCs), created under the Services Directive, which will allow citizens to obtain information in one place about the documents required to have their qualifications recognised and where they can also complete all online recognition procedures.

3. Updating minimum training requirements for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, veterinary surgeons and architects: the minimum training requirements for these professions were harmonised 20 or 30 years ago. They have been updated to reflect the evolution of these professions and of education in these fields. For example, the entry level for nursing and midwifery training has been upgraded from 10 years to 12 years of general education.

4. The introduction of an alert mechanism for health professionals benefiting from automatic recognition: competent authorities of a Member State will be obliged to alert competent authorities of all other Member States about a health professional who has been prohibited from exercising his professional activity by a public authority or a court. This is particularly important because there have been examples of doctors banned from practising in their home Member State, moving abroad to work, and other Member States were not aware of it.

5. The introduction of common training frameworks and common training tests, replacing common platforms, should offer the possibility to extend the mechanism of automatic recognition to new professions. Interested professions could benefit from automatic recognition on the basis of a common set of knowledge, skills and competences or on a common test assessing the ability of professionals to pursue a profession.

6. Mutual evaluation exercise on regulated professions: a new mechanism is introduced in the Directive to ensure greater transparency and justification of the professions they regulate through a specific qualification requirement. Member States will have to provide a list of their regulated professions and justify the need for regulation. This should be followed up by a mutual evaluation exercise facilitated by the European Commission.

Background:
The Professional Qualifications Directive is essential to enabling professionals to start a new business or to find a job in another Member State requiring a specific qualification for a specific professional activity. The modernisation is one of the twelve levers for growth set out in the Single Market Act (IP/11/469).

The European Commission promotes eco innovation business

Jeudi 15 décembre 2011

Eco innovation is a priority of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The new Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) will boost innovation that reduces pressure on the environment, and bridge the gap between innovation and the market. Eco-friendly technologies are good for business and help create new jobs, so eco-innovation is crucial to the economic competitiveness of Europe.

The EcoAP is one of the commitments of the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, building on the 2004 Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). It expands the focus from green technologies to the broader concept of eco-innovation, targeting specific bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for achieving environmental objectives through innovation. The EcoAP includes actions both on the demand and supply side, on research and industry and on policy and financial instruments. The Plan recognizes the key role of environmental regulation as a driver of eco-innovation and foresees a review of environmental legislation. It also stresses the importance of research and innovation to produce more innovative technologies and bring them to the market. The Plan also puts emphasis on the international aspect of eco-innovation, and on better coordination of policies with international partners.

The Action Plan will accelerate eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy with well targeted actions. To help create stronger and more stable market demand for eco-innovation, it will take measures in the areas of regulatory incentives, private and public procurement and standards and it will mobilise support for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve investment readiness and networking opportunities.

Key aspects of the new Action Plan include:

- Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
- Supporting demonstration projects and partnering to bring promising, smart and ambitious operational technologies to market;
- Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
- Mobilising financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
- Promoting international co-operation;
- Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs; and
- Promoting eco-innovation through European Innovation Partnerships

Next Steps
Implementation of the plan will be via partnership between stakeholders, private and public sector, and the Commission. The upcoming mid-term financial review will provide a good opportunity to assess the achievement of the goals set in this Action Plan. New efforts will focus on product development and demonstration activities to fill the gap between technology and market uptake.

Background
Eco-Innovation is any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

European eco-industries are a significant economic sector with an annual turnover estimated at EUR 319 billion, or about 2.5 % of EU GDP.

Cohesion policy more transparent

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

Member States have decided to strengthen the monitoring of financial instruments available under Cohesion Policy

This will mean that Member States will have to report once a year on progress made in financing and implementing these instruments. Such reporting will allow the Commission to better assess the overall performance of financial instruments across Member States. Together with additional information to be presented with each statement of expenditure, the Commission will be able to produce accurate and comprehensive accounts, which give a true image of the Union’s assets and of the actual budgetary implementation.

Member States are already utilising these financial instruments. Another alternative to traditional funding, which has proven successful in Member States, are the existing schemes of repayable assistance. But there was a need to provide a clear legal framework and a reassurance for their correct continued usage. With the introduction of these new correction mechanisms, the Commission follows recommendations of the European Court of Auditors.

The Member States have agreed on Monday as well with the possibility to increase the co-financing rate for all structural funds for so called programme countries, which receive special assistance, with a maximum of 10 percentage points. This would not lead to a higher allocation of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, Cohesion Fund, Fisheries Fund or European Fund for Rural Development, but would make it easier for cash-strapped Member States to co-finance projects, to create growth and jobs. The European Parliament has approved this increase already. This new possibility will enter into force, together with the improved monitoring on financial instruments, on 19 December of this year.

Background
The Commission encourages the use of financial instruments under cohesion policy, moving away from traditional one-off grants and wants to focus more on them in the next financial perspective. In times of scarce public finances the use of guarantee schemes or repayable assistance is the best way to maximise the impact of EU investment on the ground, ensuring in the long term many more projects can be supported. In the current financial perspective from 2007 until 2013 some 10 billion Euro is available for financial instruments under cohesion policy.

The so-called “repayable assistance” can take the form of either reimbursable grants (partially or totally repayable without interest by project holders) or credit lines offered to beneficiaries through financial institutions, acting as intermediaries. For instance, in Portugal, almost all cohesion policy programmes use repayable forms of assistance to support competitiveness and innovation. As an example, the National Institute for the support of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs ) can provide a reimbursable grant to a beneficiary with a view to a part of this grant being repaid once the project is complete. The investment returned to the national authority is reused for new projects.

FP7 supports a marine renewable energy

Vendredi 9 décembre 2011

The MARINET initiative (”Marine renewables infrastructure network”) has a budget of 9 million euro.

Led by researchers at the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) at University College Cork in Ireland, the project, funded as part of the ‘Infrastructures’ Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), will allow companies to carry out renewable energy testing at these centres at no extra cost.

The MARINET project, which launches its call for proposals this month and will run until 2015, will help remove some of the financial barriers that sometimes stand in the way of access to world-class European testing facilities. Under MARINET, companies and research groups will have access to facilities outside their own country. Testing will focus on checking concepts and devices in areas such as wave energy, tidal energy, offshore-wind energy and the environment. It is hoped that this project will play a part in accelerating widespread development of marine renewable energy.

Offshore renewable conversion systems are mostly at the pre-commercial stage of development. They comprise wave energy and tidal stream converters as well as offshore wind turbines for electrical generation. These devices require research to be undertaken at a series of scales along the path to commercialisation.

Each technology type is currently at a different stage of development, but each one also needs specific research infrastructures to facilitate and catalyse commercialisation. The aim of this project is to coordinate research and development at all scales (from small models through to prototype scales, from laboratory through to open sea tests), and to allow access for researchers and developers to facilities that are not universally available in Europe.

The MARINET network is made up of 42 testing facilities at 28 research centres in 11 European countries as well as in Brazil. By linking these marine renewable-energy testing facilities and using an agreed testing framework, this initiative now provides a clear path to commercialisation: it allows allowing users to seamlessly progress their device through each phase of testing. All participating centres will use common standards, conduct research to improve their own testing capability and provide training to enhance expertise in the field.

This focus on commercialisation is in line with the Commission’s objective to speed up the rate of research outcomes reaching the marketplace.

Over the course of the project, at least four calls for applications will be made. Potential users, who must work in an EU Member State or an associated Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) country, can now apply to access the facilities as part of this first call.

The Irish facilities, for example, will be based at HMRC, part of the new Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC) which was launched recently by the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. There will be wave tank and electrical testing facilities located in Cork, and through the Galway Bay and Belmullet energy test sites of the Ocean Energy Development Unit (OEDU) of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), County Mayo will form part of the facilities on offer too.

Professor Tony Lewis from the HMRC warns companies not to miss out on this opportunity, and urges them to apply for the funding to access these facilities.
‘MARINET offers a unique opportunity to access these world-class European test facilities in order to validate and progress concepts at any stage of development, and to ultimately harness the untapped renewable energy resources that are abundant around the European coastline. This is a great opportunity to advance marine renewable research testing and commercial development.’

The other countries participating in the project are Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

One in three migrants in the EU are over-qualified for their jobs

Jeudi 8 décembre 2011

One in three foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54
overqualified for their job, compared with one person in five among the native-born.

Over the years, migration has had an impact on the composition of European societies. In 2010, foreign-born persons accounted for 9.4% of the EU27 population. Their socio-economic situation was in general less favourable than for native-born persons.

In 2008 in the EU27, the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25-54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group (10% compared with 6%). When employed, foreign-born persons often have more difficulties to find a job corresponding to their education level. This can be measured using an overqualification rate, which refers to the percentage of persons with a high level of education who have a job which does not
correspond to this level. In the EU27 in 2008, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 registered a significantly higher overqualification rate than native-born persons (34% compared with 19%).

These figures come from a publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. This publication looks at a broad range of characteristics of migrants aged from 25 to 54 living in the European Union and EFTA countries. It looks separately at foreign-born persons, foreign citizens and second generation migrants.

It covers the socio-economic situation of migrants including labour market status, income distribution and poverty. Reasons for migration and length of residence are also examined.

Higher rates of unemployment and overqualification for foreign-born persons

In 2008, the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25-54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group in all Member States for which data are available, except Greece and Hungary. Particularly high gaps were registered in Belgium (14% for foreign-born compared with 5% for native-born), Sweden (11% and 3%), Finland (11% and 5%), Spain (15% and 9%), France (12% and 6%) and Germany (12% and 6%).

As regards employment, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 registered a significantly higher overqualification rate than native-born persons in 2008 in all Member States for which data are available. The difference was particularly marked in Greece (62% for foreign-born compared with 18% for native-born), Italy (50% and 13%), Spain (58% and 31%), Cyprus (53% and 27%), Estonia (47% and 22%) and Sweden (31% and 11%).

One in three foreign-born person aged 25 to 54 at risk of poverty or social exclusion

In 2008 in the EU27, 31% of the foreign-born aged 25-54 were assessed to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion, following the criteria set by the Europe 2020 strategy. The native-born registered a lower rate of 20%. This pattern was observed in all Member States for which data are available, except Hungary and Lithuania. Particularly high gaps were recorded in Belgium (36% for foreign-born compared with 13% for native born), Sweden (32% and 10%), Greece (45% and 23%), France (34% and 14%), Austria (32% and 13%), Finland (31% and 13%) and Denmark (31% and 13%).

Foreign-born persons are also in a less favourable situation with regard to housing conditions. In 2008 in the EU27, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 were more likely to live in overcrowded dwellings than native-born persons (23% compared with 19%). The differences were particularly high in Austria (40% for foreign-born compared with 9% for native born), Greece (49% and 26%), Slovenia (61% and 41%), France (26% and 8%) and Denmark (21% and 6%).

The European Commission proposes new support for social enterprises

Mercredi 7 décembre 2011

Social enterprises account for 10% of companies in Europe and 11 million employees. They often benefit from government support, but their financial situation remains fragile.

With today’s proposal for a Regulation, the Commission lays the foundations for a strong European market for social investment funds. It introduces a new “European Social Entrepreneurship Funds” label so investors can easily identify funds that focus on investing in European social businesses. The approach is simple: once the requirements defined in the proposal are met, managers of social investment funds will be able to market their funds across the whole of Europe. To get the label, a fund will have to prove that a high percentage of investments (70% of the capital received from investors) is spent in supporting social business. Uniform rules on disclosure will ensure that investors get clear and effective information on these investments.

Background
Key elements of the proposal
A recognised EU brand for social entrepreneurship funds:

Currently, investors can find it difficult to identify funds that are investing in social businesses and this can undermine trust in the social business market. Meanwhile, social investment funds can find it difficult to differentiate themselves from other funds and this can undermine the growth of the sector. The Regulation adopted today creates a common brand: the “European Social Entrepreneurship Funds”. With this label, investors will know that the majority of their investment is going into social businesses. In addition, the common EU-wide brand will make it much easier for investors throughout the EU to locate these funds.

Improved investor information:
Just as investors can find it difficult to identify funds investing in social businesses, the information available about these funds and what they are doing can be difficult to compare and use. Setting a common EU framework for this information is therefore vital. All funds that use the new brand should in the future clearly publish information about the kinds of social businesses they target, the ways they are selected, the ways the fund will help the social businesses, and how social impacts will be monitored and reported.

Better performance measures:
The projected impact is an important factor for investors in choosing between various social investment funds. The proposed measures will set out clear requirements for funds to inform investors on how they will go about monitoring and reporting on impacts. However, more is likely to be needed. The Commission will undertake further work to develop better and more comparable ways on how the social performance of investments can be measured. This will allow for the development of a more transparent investment market and greater investor confidence.

Break down barriers to fundraising across Europe:
Rules targeting social investment funds differ per Member State and are often onerous and complex. For this reason, the new proposals will simplify rules. For example, a European passport would ensure that social entrepreneurship funds could raise funds across Europe. Fund managers will not be forced to use the new framework, but if they do, they will be able to gain access to investors across the EU and to a clearly recognisable EU brand that investors will grow to trust and seek out.

Availability to investors:
Because investing in social businesses can be risky, the “European Social Entrepreneurship Funds” label would at the start only be available to professional investors. Once the framework is up and running, the Commission will examine possible measures to make such investments also available to retail customers.

Next steps:
The proposals now pass to the European Parliament and the Council (Member States) for negotiation and adoption under the co-decision procedure.