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SMEs and Better Regulation

07-02-2020

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy. However, numerous internal and external constraints, such as red tape and stringent business regulations, can make running a small business very difficult for entrepreneurs. Creating a business-friendly regulatory environment is a long-standing EU objective. The European Commission's cross-cutting policy on better regulation spearheads improvements, and its 'SME Test' scrutinises the impact of EU proposals on SMEs ...

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy. However, numerous internal and external constraints, such as red tape and stringent business regulations, can make running a small business very difficult for entrepreneurs. Creating a business-friendly regulatory environment is a long-standing EU objective. The European Commission's cross-cutting policy on better regulation spearheads improvements, and its 'SME Test' scrutinises the impact of EU proposals on SMEs. The Commission is due to make a statement during the February plenary session on SMEs and better regulation.

Agricultural education and lifelong training in the EU

24-10-2017

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate ...

European farmers fulfil a vital role in providing safe and affordable food to nearly 500 million European citizens, and maintaining their countries' landscapes. However, the farming population is ageing and generational renewal has become a crucial issue. The farming sector needs to attract a new generation of farmers with the necessary skills to live and work in a challenging context. They will have to produce more efficiently while protecting the environment; contribute to the fight against climate change; meet society's demands regarding healthy and balanced diets; and keep up with increasingly rapid scientific and technological progress. It is therefore essential that farmers benefit from adequate agricultural education and training and acquire the various skills needed to adapt to a changing environment. On average, only 8.5 % of the present generation of European farmers have received full agricultural training, and 70 % have only practical experience. Initial training is a national competence and agricultural education systems vary widely throughout the EU. They provide the path to a wide range of careers in agriculture and forestry and deliver degrees in a number of disciplines, from diploma courses with a vocational orientation to bachelor degrees or doctorates in applied sciences. The current common agricultural policy places strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and innovation. It provides for specific measures to help farmers access advice and training throughout their working lives. Support is also provided for innovation via the European innovation partnership network for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP-Agri). In several recent resolutions, the European Parliament has stressed the importance of education and training for farmers, in particular as a way to foster their ability to work in an ever-evolving sector.

Creating opportunities: The EU and students

27-06-2017

Over one third of the European Union (EU) population – some 170 million citizens – are aged under 30, with half that number under the age of 15 years. Although education policies in the EU are essentially decided and implemented by the individual EU countries, the EU provides sound evidence and analysis to help national governments make informed policy decisions and drive reforms to improve educational outcomes and the employability of young people. For this purpose, in 2009, the EU set a series ...

Over one third of the European Union (EU) population – some 170 million citizens – are aged under 30, with half that number under the age of 15 years. Although education policies in the EU are essentially decided and implemented by the individual EU countries, the EU provides sound evidence and analysis to help national governments make informed policy decisions and drive reforms to improve educational outcomes and the employability of young people. For this purpose, in 2009, the EU set a series of common objectives to address the most pressing concerns in EU education systems by 2020. In several areas, the EU scores well. In 2015, 39 % of the EU workforce held a higher education degree. Between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of early school leavers decreased by some 30 %, even though during 2016, progress towards meeting the EU target slowed and currently stands at an average of 11 % – one percentage point away from achieving the target. However, the EU faces the major challenge of further upskilling its population and reducing under-achievement in basic skills. In specific terms, the results show that over 22 % of EU students have low achievement levels in mathematics, nearly 18 % in reading, and some 17 % in science. Moreover, by 2020, the EU aims for at least 15 % participation in learning among the population aged 25-64 years. Nevertheless, progress towards this target has been very limited. The EU average in adult learning stood at some 11 % in 2014 (the target was 15 %), and did not increase in 2015. Only urgent and substantive action will enable the EU to reach the benchmark. On a more optimistic note, the Erasmus student mobility programme that has allowed more than 9 million Europeans to study abroad, turns 30 in 2017. Widely recognised as one of the most successful EU programmes, Erasmus provides a concrete example of the positive impact of European integration.

EU support for social entrepreneurs

16-03-2017

Social enterprises combine social goals with entrepreneurial activity. They represent a business model focused on having a positive social or environmental impact rather than simply making profit for shareholders. Social enterprises make a valuable contribution to the economy and society, operating mainly in local communities and covering areas such as education, healthcare, social services, work integration and environmental protection. They are also an increasingly popular choice for outsourcing ...

Social enterprises combine social goals with entrepreneurial activity. They represent a business model focused on having a positive social or environmental impact rather than simply making profit for shareholders. Social enterprises make a valuable contribution to the economy and society, operating mainly in local communities and covering areas such as education, healthcare, social services, work integration and environmental protection. They are also an increasingly popular choice for outsourcing certain public services of general economic interest. Social enterprises encounter challenges in their operations, mostly related to regulatory obstacles and difficulties in accessing funding. At EU level the momentum gained by the Social Business Initiative of 2011 is currently being supplemented by regulatory changes such as the review of the regulation on the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds, improving access to public procurement and developing methodologies for measuring social impact. The EU is also making efforts to improve funding opportunities, for instance via the Social Impact Accelerator and the 'microfinance and social entrepreneurship' axis of the Employment and Social Innovation programme. Additional funding is made available under the European Structural and Investment Funds, as well as programmes tailored to small and medium-sized enterprises. Expansion of the social economy, however, requires further development of a supportive regulatory environment, a tailored financial ecosystem, and also increased visibility and recognition.

The Collaborative Economy: Socioeconomic, Regulatory and Labor Issues

16-01-2017

This briefing provides a discussion of economic, regulatory, labor and social issues related to the sharing economy (collaborative economy). It provides a definition for the collaborative economy, placing it in the context of a range of past and current definitions, and proposing a new term, “crowd-based capitalism,” as a term that unifies changes across different industries. It outlines how this new form of commercial exchange blurs the lines between personal and commercial, elevating the importance ...

This briefing provides a discussion of economic, regulatory, labor and social issues related to the sharing economy (collaborative economy). It provides a definition for the collaborative economy, placing it in the context of a range of past and current definitions, and proposing a new term, “crowd-based capitalism,” as a term that unifies changes across different industries. It outlines how this new form of commercial exchange blurs the lines between personal and commercial, elevating the importance of social factors in creating commercial trust. It reflects on how the economic returns from the sharing economy may be repartitioned across social actors, and the promise of lower economic inequality. It outlines new approaches to regulating the sharing economy, the necessity of carefully designed self-regulatory mechanisms, the promise of data-driven delegation, and a set of principles to draw the right lines between the government and the platforms. It concludes with a summary of the state of the independent workforce and outlines approaches for creating a new social contract as society shifts away from employment and towards freelance work. This document was prepared by Professor Arun Sundararajan at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Collaborative Economy"

16-01-2017

This proceedings summaries the workshop chaired by MEP Nicola DANTI on collaborative economy. The workshop is a part of the overall work done within the European Parliament in order to deal with this new form of economy in the context of the Single Market. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

This proceedings summaries the workshop chaired by MEP Nicola DANTI on collaborative economy. The workshop is a part of the overall work done within the European Parliament in order to deal with this new form of economy in the context of the Single Market. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

An Economic Review on the Collaborative Economy

15-12-2016

This paper provides an overview of the empirical evidence concerning the potential gains from collaborative economy and the economic impact some of its business models on. It discusses how we can distinguish professional and non-professional services and provides a list of 9 tentative recommendations for the better protection of the users of the collaborative platforms. It also summarises the main regulatory concerns that emerge from the operation of such platforms. This document was prepared by ...

This paper provides an overview of the empirical evidence concerning the potential gains from collaborative economy and the economic impact some of its business models on. It discusses how we can distinguish professional and non-professional services and provides a list of 9 tentative recommendations for the better protection of the users of the collaborative platforms. It also summarises the main regulatory concerns that emerge from the operation of such platforms. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Critical Assessment of European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy

15-12-2016

The research paper describes the main legal challenges for regulating the collaborative economy and evaluates the definition of, and elucidates how the existing body of EU law applies to collaborative economy business models. In the last part, the paper elaborates on how a regulatory framework for non-professional provision of services and prosumers should look like and makes a few concrete proposals for future policies. This paper was commissioned by the Policy Department A for Economic, Scientific ...

The research paper describes the main legal challenges for regulating the collaborative economy and evaluates the definition of, and elucidates how the existing body of EU law applies to collaborative economy business models. In the last part, the paper elaborates on how a regulatory framework for non-professional provision of services and prosumers should look like and makes a few concrete proposals for future policies. This paper was commissioned by the Policy Department A for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies upon request of the European Parliament´s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

European venture capital and social entrepreneurship funds

07-12-2016

This initial appraisal concludes that the Commission's impact assessment is based on sound knowledge and on relevant data relating to the investment funds industry. However, the evidence regarding specifically the two fund frameworks under review - European venture capital funds and European social entrepreneurship funds - is, by the IA's own admission, limited. The IA and the review attached to it do not cover all the points listed in the review clauses of the two regulations, for instance the geographical ...

This initial appraisal concludes that the Commission's impact assessment is based on sound knowledge and on relevant data relating to the investment funds industry. However, the evidence regarding specifically the two fund frameworks under review - European venture capital funds and European social entrepreneurship funds - is, by the IA's own admission, limited. The IA and the review attached to it do not cover all the points listed in the review clauses of the two regulations, for instance the geographical and sectoral distribution of investments undertaken specifically by EuVECA and EuSEF funds. At first sight, it appears that different conclusions could be drawn using the same data provided in the IA, for instance regarding the low take-up and lower than expected performance of the funds. The range of options analysed in depth seems rather narrow. Finally, the purpose of the existing regulations is to enhance the growth of small and medium-size enterprises and of social businesses. The IA states that it is too early to judge whether these objectives have been achieved and excludes this issue from the scope of the analysis. Even so, an initial analysis of the public consultations undertaken shows that, despite the absence of more concrete evidence, a greater effort could have been made to integrate the voice of non-financial businesses, including SMEs and social enterprises, within the IA.  

Boosting e-Commerce in the Digital Single Market: A Foundation for European Growth and Competitiveness

15-09-2016

This paper reviews global trends in e-commerce and provides an analysis of the opportunities a Digital Single Market (DSM) would create for European entrepreneurs. The paper argues that the economic impact of the DSM could be enhanced by placing greater attention on the enabling conditions for entrepreneurial success, particularly by ensuring entrepreneurs have access to anchor customers, an ample supply of growth capital, sophisticated management talent and well-coordinated supports for scale-ups ...

This paper reviews global trends in e-commerce and provides an analysis of the opportunities a Digital Single Market (DSM) would create for European entrepreneurs. The paper argues that the economic impact of the DSM could be enhanced by placing greater attention on the enabling conditions for entrepreneurial success, particularly by ensuring entrepreneurs have access to anchor customers, an ample supply of growth capital, sophisticated management talent and well-coordinated supports for scale-ups and internationalization. This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

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