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SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2020

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2020

The SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2020 – Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe is a unique benchmarking tool to assess and monitor progress in the design and implementation of SME policies against EU and international best practice. It is structured around the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), which provide a wide range of pro-enterprise measures to guide the design and implementation of SME policies. This report marks the third edition in this series, following assessments in 2012 and 2016. It provides a comprehensive overview of the state of play in the implementation of the ten SBA principles, and monitors progress made since 2016. It also identifies remaining challenges affecting SMEs in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and provides recommendations to address them based on EU and international good practice examples. The 2020 edition also features a novelty: An assessment of three new dimensions going beyond core SME policy (competition, contract enforcement and business integrity) looking at key structural reform priorities that are critical to establishing a level playing field for enterprises of all sizes and ownership types.

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Pillar D – Access to markets

International markets and the public procurement sector represent huge opportunities for SMEs in the Eastern Partnership region. However, they face high barriers and risks in entering those markets due to lack of information about export opportunities, internationally incompatible quality standards, and discriminatory rules, as well as complex application procedures for public tenders. Pillar D assesses governments’ efforts to facilitate SME access to these markets.Since the 2016 assessment, the public procurement regulatory environment has improved, but none of the EaP countries has yet fully introduced all the standard practices recommended in this area – and e-procurement systems, despite having considerably developed since 2016, remain limited. The EaP countries have made some progress in the Standards and technical regulations dimension, as they have all applied for associate membership in the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) and Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed bilateral recognition agreements with the EA. Since 2016, all EaP countries have also started implementing new strategies for SME internationalisation, but only limited progress has been made in implementing policies to foster SME integration into global value chains.The EaP countries should improve their e-procurement systems and invest in training for procurement officers and contracting authorities, as well as expand financial and non-financial measures to foster the use of standards and conformity assessment services. Finally, they should expand the range of provided export support services and introduce the provision of trade finance tools for exporting SMEs.

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