EU Funding: First steps of the European “Small Business Act”

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for actions in relation to access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs and for investment in innovation activities.
 New financial instrument to facilitate to SMEs the obtention of equity and risk capital necessary to their growth
 New financial instrument to facilitate to SMEs the obtention of bank guarantees

On 18 July, the twenty-seven internal market and industry ministers worked on established a ‘European Small Business Act’ for SMEs

The internal market and industry ministers of the Member States of the European Union and the European Free Trade Area met for debates moderated by the chairman of the Competitiveness Council, meeting in its internal market and industry configuration, Hervé Novelli, French Minister of State for Business, Trades, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Tourism and Services, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Minister of State for European Affairs, in the presence of three members of the European Commission - Günther Verheugen, Charlie McCreevy and Neelie Kroes - and Philippe Maystadt, President of the European Investment Bank.

The discussions focused on the European Small Business Act, i.e. a set of measures designed to create more favourable conditions for the growth and development of European SMEs (for example, with regard to public procurement contracts). Access to funding for SMEs was also discussed in a working lunch with Andrea Benassi, the Secretary General of the UEAPME (the European professional organisation for craft and SMEs). The ministers also voiced their support for the draft statute for a European Private Company proposed by European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. This single company form would reduce the costs for SMEs adapting to 27 different national types of company law.

The ministers exchanged views on the EU’s strategy in a globalised economy, in particular on the Commission’s proposals aimed at supporting research and innovation and offering better access to public procurement contracts in third countries. They emphasised the comparative advantage given to the European Union by intellectual property and the need to protect intellectual property rights. The ministers expressed their wish for the European Union and its Member States to intensify their efforts in the fight against counterfeiting and their positive expectations with regard to the proposal of a strategy for industrial property rights in Europe that the Commission adopted on 16 July 2008.

French Presidency of the EU

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