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Empowering the EU’s SMEs

EU budget: New Single Market programme to empower and protect Europeans.

Published on: 07 June 2018

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, dedicated €4 billion programme to empower and protect consumers and enable Europe's many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take full advantage of a well-functioning Single Market.

The new programme will strengthen the governance of the EU's internal market. It will support businesses' – and in particular SMEs' – competitiveness and will promote human, animal and plant health and animal welfare, as well as establish the framework for financing European statistics.

"The Single Market is the beating heart of the EU. In the 25 years of its existence it has brought enormous benefits to EU citizens and businesses. For the Single Market to stay fit for purpose, we need to look after it properly. Today we are proposing a new programme to further increase the positive impact on Europeans," said Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

The new Single Market Programme will support:

Consumer protection and empowerment: The new programme will guarantee the enforcement of consumer rights, ensure a high level of consumer protection and product safety and assist consumers when they encounter problems, for example when shopping online. It will also facilitate consumers' access to redress, as proposed in the New Deal for Consumers.

Competitiveness of businesses, in particular SMEs: Building on the success of the current programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), the Commission is proposing to strengthen the support given to small business to scale up and expand across borders;

A high level of human, animal and plant health: EU citizens will continue to have access to safe and high quality food in the integrated European Single Market. Under the new programme, funding will support the safe production of food, the prevention and eradication of animal diseases and plant pests, and the improvement of animal welfare in the EU. It will also promote market access for EU food producers, contribute to exports to third-countries, and significantly support the agri-food industry as a leading sector of the EU economy;

Effective enforcement and first class standards: The programme will strengthen cooperation between Member States and the Commission to ensure that EU rules are properly implemented and enforced. The programme will also support European standardisation organisations in developing up-to-date and future-proof standards.

Fair competition in the digital age: The programme will help the Commission to further enhance its IT tools and expertise that it uses to effectively enforce competition rules in the digital economy (i.e. to respond to market developments such as the use of big data and algorithms) as well as to strengthen cooperation between the Commission and Member State authorities and courts.

High quality European statistics: The programme will provide funding to national statistics institutes for the production and dissemination of European statistics which are indispensable for decision-making in all policy areas.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results as soon as possible. Delays similar to the ones experienced at the beginning of the current 2014-2020 budgetary period would reduce the financial assistance and technical support provided to SMEs, disturb actions to guarantee food or product safety and disrupt the development of new standards.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of activities to the benefit of all.

Background

The Commission is proposing a budget of €4 billion for the Single Market Programme. In addition, €2 billion allocated under the InvestEU Fund, in particular through its Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Window, will significantly contribute to the objectives of programme.

The Single Market allows Europeans to travel freely, study, work, live and fall in love across borders. They can buy what they want, where they want, and benefit from greater choice and lower prices. European businesses – large and small – can expand their customer base and exchange products and services more easily across the EU. Simply put, the Single Market is Europe's best asset to generate growth and foster competitiveness of European companies in globalised markets.

The new Single Market Programme follows the Commission's vision for the next long-term budget proposed on 2 May 2018. It is a modern, simple and flexible programme which consolidates a large range of activities that were previously financed separately, into one coherent programme. This will reduce overlaps and improve cooperation. Ultimately, it will ensure continuity in the efficient delivery of the Single Market on the ground, while providing better value for money for EU citizens.

 

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