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EU needs to take the initiative to ensure we 'think small first' when legislating


17 Nov 2016


Innovation & Enterprise

Brussels, 16th November 2016 -- With small businesses acting as the engines of job creation across Europe, more attention needs to be paid to the impact that EU and national legislation has on small business growth.

Today, the European Conservatives and Reformists group's Better Regulation Policy group met with small business organisations and the European Commission to look at ways of creating a standardised system across the EU when drafting new legislation. A so-called 'SME test' for Small and Medium sized Enterprises would put the needs and interests of small businesses at the heart of every decision that is made.

The tests would not be imposed or centralised, but the EU would act to distribute the basic principles of what works best and actively encourage governments and parliaments to 'think small first' when preparing and passing new laws and rules.

Patrick Gibbels, Secretary General of the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) said: “The SME test too often is not properly implemented or, in some cases, not at all. Rather than executing a fully-fledged SME test, many Impact Assessments contain a few lines, stating that ‘this proposal is unlikely to adversely affect SMEs’ without any real arguments, supporting evidence or justification. This needs to change

Maarit Nyman from the European Commission added: "The Commission is actively promoting the effective application of the SME test in all its policy decisions that involve an impact assessment. It is clear that if the other EU institutions could also apply the SME test where appropriate, it can only produce benefits to the business community and the citizens

ECR chairman of the Better Regulation policy group, Anthea McIntyre MEP said:

"The ECR is committed to helping small businesses to grow and the easiest way to achieve this is to tailor rules and regulations so that their impact on smaller businesses is always considered. Large multinationals have lobbying and compliance departments and armies of lawyers to influence and decipher legislation, but their potential rivals and start-ups have to spend a disproportionate amount of their time filling in forms and complying with rules, and less time growing the business. We need to make sure that someone is thinking of them at all times, and this process is about trying to get lawmakers at the EU and national level to 'think small first'."


Contact: ECR Press Office, James Holtum on +32 473 861762;

The ECR was created to take the EU in a new direction, according to the principles of our founding Prague Declaration.

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