Helping – or Not – European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Venture Abroad

15-09-2014

Various EU initiatives to supporting the internationalisation of European SMEs fall short of the European Parliament's expectations. Although independent evaluations of the European Business Centres in India, China and Thailand suggested that bold decisions were necessary, the European Commission has only adopted some changes to the measures. Using budget appropriations from the previous budget framework, the Commission plans to support the current structures until the end of their contracts – which have been extended in some cases. The Commission also plans to geographically extend its business support in third countries – also financed by the ICI+ programme. Under the EU's budgetary procedure, the European Parliament has only oversight over the implementation of inefficient structures. As Member States require tailor-made support to turn-around declining exports, small and medium-sized enterprises should first be supported through the Member States, and then perhaps by the EU.

Various EU initiatives to supporting the internationalisation of European SMEs fall short of the European Parliament's expectations. Although independent evaluations of the European Business Centres in India, China and Thailand suggested that bold decisions were necessary, the European Commission has only adopted some changes to the measures. Using budget appropriations from the previous budget framework, the Commission plans to support the current structures until the end of their contracts – which have been extended in some cases. The Commission also plans to geographically extend its business support in third countries – also financed by the ICI+ programme. Under the EU's budgetary procedure, the European Parliament has only oversight over the implementation of inefficient structures. As Member States require tailor-made support to turn-around declining exports, small and medium-sized enterprises should first be supported through the Member States, and then perhaps by the EU.