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SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2016

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2016

The SME Policy Index is a benchmarking tool designed for emerging economies to assess SME policy frameworks and monitor progress in policy implementation over time. The Index has been developed by the OECD in partnership with the European Commission (EC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in 2006 for the Western Balkans. The South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) joined as an additional partner in 2014. The SME Policy Index has since 2006 been applied in four regions and nine assessment rounds overall.

The SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2016 presents the results of the fourth assessment of the Small Business Act for Europe in the Western Balkans and, since 2012, Turkey. The assessment framework is structured around the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA). It provides a wide-range of pro-enterprise measures to guide the design and implementation of SME policies based on good practices promoted by the EU and the OECD.

The Index identifies strengths and weaknesses in policy design, implementation and monitoring. It allows for comparison across countries and measures convergence towards good practices and relevant policy standards. It aims to support governments in setting targets for SME policy development and to identify strategic priorities to further improve the business environment. It also helps to engage governments in policy dialogue and exchange good practices within the region and with OECD and EU members.

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Standards and technical regulations (Dimension 7) in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Help SMEs to benefit more from the opportunities offered by the single market (Small Business Act Principle 7)

Technical barriers to trade can severely distort trade by preventing market access, protecting domestic producers and discriminating between domestic and foreign producers. They thus represent one of the most important obstacles to the liberalisation of trade between the European Union and the EU pre-accession countries. Dimension 7 analyses government efforts to eliminate technical barriers to trade in the area of industrial products. The implementation of standards and technical regulations in particular has the potential to ease access to the Single Market and liberalise trade between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey. All the economies of the Western Balkans and Turkey have been working on aligning their technical regulations and standards with international and European rules. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are candidates for accession to the EU, and have gone through the process of screening their legislation in the area of free movement of goods. Albania has also acquired candidate status, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo have potential candidate status. Stabilisation and Association Agreements have entered into force between the EU and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, and the one with Kosovo was signed in 2015. The EU and Turkey have long been joined with a Customs Union agreement.

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