Opinion Factsheet  

Smart Regulation for SMEs

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Opinion Number: CDR 5387/2016
Rapporteur: BUCHMANN Christian
Group: EPP (European People's Party)
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 12/07/2017
 
This own-initiative opinion is one of key steps within the ECON Commission's working process on Improving Regulation for SMEs, which was initiated at the conference "Boosting entrepreneurial spirit" in February 2016. The opinion aims to draw on expertise gathered from LRAs, EU institutions and stakeholders and outline positions, claims and possible concerns of EU local and regional authorities with regard to improving the business environment for SMEs through the ongoing implementation of the Better Regulation Agenda and of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA).
It aims to contribute a territorial perspective to the broader debate on administrative and regulatory burden reduction for SMEs at EU and national level.
The opinion aims to contribute to implementing the priorities of the CoR as outlined in the resolution on the CoR's priorities for its 6th term of office, which calls for "enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs and promoting the social economy […] by reducing red tape" and encourages "the reduction of red tape and regulatory burdens at all levels of government, thus allowing businesses to thrive and citizens to benefit fully from the EU's added value" (points 7 and 31, ref. CdR 2565/2015). The opinion specifically aims to contribute to the policy objective of "Improving the regional business environment" under the SME policy priority of the ECON commission's 2016 work programme (ref. CdR 5404/2015).
•This own-initiative opinion is a key step within the ECON Commission's working process on Improving Regulation for SMEs, which was initiated at the conference "Boosting entrepreneurial spirit" in February 2016. The opinion drew on expertise gathered from LRAs, EU institutions and stakeholders and outline positions, claims and possible concerns of EU local and regional authorities with regard to improving the business environment for SMEs through the ongoing implementation of the Better Regulation Agenda and of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA).
• It contributed a territorial perspective to the broader debate on administrative and regulatory burden reduction for SMEs at EU and national level. Key stakeholders and actors of the better regulation and administrative burden rediction agendas took part in the thematic events organised by the ECON commission.
• The opinion provided vaulable input for the CoR ocntribution to the opinions of the REFIT platform.
• As a follow-up to the external ECOn commission seminar in Seggauberg, CoR has been involved in the preparation of European Court of Auditors´s audit on public participation in EU law-making.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



 points out the disproportionate impact of red tape on SMEs, with relative compliance costs in areas such as taxation or reporting obligations higher for SMEs compared with larger companies; therefore forcefully emphasises the need to make the European regulatory environment more SME-friendly by tackling barriers to business creation and growth at all levels;

 notes that the SME envoys network acts as main interface between the European Commission and national policy-makers; calls upon the Commission to formally and systematically include regional and local SME envoys in this network;

 underlines that overlapping and contradictory rules in different EU policies – regional policy, state aid, public procurement, environmental protection, tension between cluster support and competition and compliance rules – disproportionally affect SMEs;

 notes that the work of the REFIT Platform focuses primarily on specific issues within EU legislation that can be improved without fundamentally changing an entire piece of legislation; considers that this narrow focus should be complemented by a more ambitious approach, aiming for structural improvements to the EU regulatory framework in the medium term;

 calls upon public authorities at all levels to commit themselves to common standards of SME-friendly procurement;

 calls for further simplification of rules and procedures linked to different VAT regimes in cross-border trade, for an extension of the mini One Stop Shop principle, and for a common EU cross-border threshold below which VAT wouldn't be applied;

 stresses the importance of innovation-friendly rules that create room for experimentation where appropriate; stresses the need to encourage entrepreneurial thinking at all government levels.

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ECON external seminar on "Smart Regulation and Smart Growth: Fostering Employment, growth and innovation through administrative burden reduction", Seggauberg (AT)

The CoR ECON Commission presentec this seminar in the framework of its 2016 priority of smart regulation and administrative burden reduction for SMEs, taking account of the debate at the technical seminar on Better Regulation for SMEs in April 2016 and reporting on a survey of regional and local authorities and on work conducted in the context of the EU REFIT Platform on administrative burden reduction.

The three sessions focused on the perspective and needs of enterprises, on the response provided by the EU in the area of smart and better regulation, and on the role of local and regional authorities in creating a growth-friendly regulatory environment.

 
03 Nov
 

Better Regulation for SMEs (technical seminar)

This seminar explored the topic of improving regulation for SMEs, providing participants with an overview of the main EU initiatives aimed at improving regulation, in particular in the framework of the REFIT Platform and identifying potential future priority files in the area of improving regulation for SMEs (in view of a potential own-initiative opinion).
It aimed to gather evidence for the political discussion about Smart Regulation for SMEs within the CoR and also for the CoR's contribution to the work of the REFIT Platform.
The seminar payed particular attention to regulatory obstacles in the area of VAT.

 
21 Apr