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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 A – Responsive government

A comprehensive and coherent policy and institutional and regulatory framework, simple and low-cost administrative procedures, and efficient insolvency systems are core elements of a sound SME policy. Pillar A assesses the Eastern Partner governments’ responsiveness to SME needs, focusing on the institutional and regulatory framework for SME policy making, the operational environment, and bankruptcy and second chances procedures.Since the 2016 assessment, all EaP countries have made significant progress in the institutional and regulatory framework dimension by improving their SME definition, establishing multi-year SME development strategies, and setting up SME development agencies. The performance in the operational environment dimension was already high in 2016, and countries have continued to make progress in the licenses and permits area and in e-government services. On the other hand, insolvency frameworks remain one of the weakest areas of the EaP region’s business environment, and countries have experienced only modest progress in this area.The EaP countries are invited to systematically apply RIAs, invest in IT skills and requirements to ensure entrepreneurs can benefit from e-government services, and assess the impact of simplified tax regimes. Governments should also implement early-warning systems for a systematic detection of insolvency, streamline judicial proceedings, and adopt co-ordinated and proactive second-chance strategies.

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