EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

A good place to start would be cutting red tape

Christophe Leclercq, Founder and Publisher of EurActiv.com, and Rick Zedník, CEO published the following opinion piece on SME Policies in the Wall Street Journal dated 10th September, “

Mr Barroso, Take Down Small Business Walls“.

The article covers a range of issues met by SME leaders including a quote from our editorial coverage of the Enterprise & Jobs sectiohttp:/n (eg Vice President Verheughen and Xavier Damman, CEO and founder, Tweetag) and reporting EurActiv’s own experience, as an expanding international SME.

EurActiv’s CrossLingual sections get increasing press coverage. For example, that’s where national journalists can get info in 10 languages on SME policies:

Enterprise Newsmap (click on any country)

May be you have personal experience? Or a policy view?
Do not hesitate to react, either directly on this blog, or using this contact form, also for Letters to the Editor.

Thanks in advance.

Here are some extracts reprinted with permission from The Wall Street Journal:

(…) for the European Commission President to clinch a passing grade from the European Parliament and ensure his next term, he should do more for the parents of roughly three-quarters of those school children. Specifically, he must demonstrate a stronger commitment to Europe’s 23 million small and medium-sized businesses, which account for roughly 75% of European jobs.

Instead of multi-billion-euro bailouts for big banks and corporations, which small businesses will fund in subsequent years through higher taxes, support for more modest enterprises could better pull Europe out of its economic malaise.

Unfortunately, when the Union’s leader presented his program for the next five years, we little guys seemed an afterthought, far behind markets, citizens and climate.

Barroso needs to push for faster progress on the Small Business Act

Special attention should go to the following areas:

Cut red tape:

With affiliates in 10 countries, we have our own experiences of the red tape that entrepreneurs face. In Germany, company registration is supposed to take three days. But after agreeing all details in German, it still took us five hours of notary time and three months of waiting for notice or approval from five different authorities – the court, the business register, the chamber of commerce, tax authorities and the labor administration – to set up EurActiv.de, a simple joint venture. And in Romania, after six months of paying lawyers’ fees, our efforts to register a modest operating change remain unrealized. This gap between Brussels’ good intentions and practical national realities is one that small companies cannot afford.

Foster innovation:

….

Encourage cross-border trade: Only 8% of Europe’s small businesses trade across national borders, and just 5% have subsidiaries or joint ventures abroad.

June’s European Parliament elections yielded a mandate for an open and competitive internal market, conditions which would be a major boost to small and upstart firms. More than anything, the moment calls for Mr. Barroso to demonstrate this mindset.

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