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SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2019

Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

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Robust SME sectors are critical to the prosperity of the six Western Balkan economies and Turkey, accounting for over 70% of those employed in the business sector and generating 65% of value added in these seven economies. Yet their potential remains untapped, as SMEs across the region grapple with numerous challenges that hamper their growth and productivity. They are still under-represented in international trade, and their contributions to value-added remain comparatively low as they have difficulties in moving or expanding into high value-added activities.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) in the seven EU pre-accession economies over the period 2016-18. It monitors progress against similar assessments performed over the past decade and identifies the outstanding challenges affecting SMEs. It also provides targeted recommendations to remove barriers to SME development and unleashing their potential for driving inclusive economic growth.

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Executive summary

Given its sizeable contribution to economic performance and social well-being, a robust small and medium-size enterprise (SME) sector is critical to the prosperity of an economy. This is especially true for the European Union (EU) pre-accession economies (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,* Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey), where SMEs account for close to three-quarters of those employed in the private sector, and generate two-thirds of private sector value added. Despite this, their potential remains largely untapped: SMEs are under-represented in international trade and their contribution to value added remains low as they have difficulties in moving or expanding into high-value added activities.

English

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