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Commission wants to simplify life for SMEs by easing the top 10 most burdensome EU laws

EU News 119/2013

Brussels, 7 March 2013

The 20.8 million European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) create 85% of all new jobs in Europe, they employ 2/3 of the workforce in the EU and they contribute significantly to innovation and growth. Following the principle "think small first", and in line with the Small Business Act of 2008, the Commission has put SMEs at the heart of its smart regulation agenda to help growth and job creation in Europe. In a broad consultation initiated by the Commission, around 1000 SMEs and business organisations have now identified the top 10 most burdensome EU laws. The purpose of this broad consultation was to check where EU regulation might be impeding jobs and growth and to identify areas or issues which would require further examination and action where necessary. The result published today indicates that SMEs see the biggest difficulties and costs as a consequence of the rules regarding the REACH chemical legislation, value added tax, product safety, recognition of professional qualifications, data protection, waste legislation, labour market related legislation, recording equipment for road transport, public procurement and the modernised customs code.

The Commission, while recognising the overall necessity of having European-wide rules in these areas, will now thoroughly address these concerns via the new Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) launched in December 2012 (IP/12/1349). Through this programme, the EU's regulatory acquis is being screened for burdens, gaps and inefficiencies in order to evaluate and if appropriate revise those laws where the assessment points to a need for action. The Commission will announce follow up actions by June 2013, also taking into account the outcome of the ongoing legislative processes.

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