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SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

This report assesses the elaboration and implementation of SME policy in eight Middle East and North African economies of the southern Mediterranean shore. The assessment is structured according to the ten policy principles covered in the Small Business Act for Europe (the SBA). One of the main findings is that over the last five years there has been progress in SME policy elaboration and implementation in spite of the political and economic turmoil. However, that progress has been modest, incremental and uneven across economies and dimensions. Political and economic stability, as well as institutional development, had a major impact on policy performance.

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Institutional and regulatory framework for SME policy making

SBA principle: Design rules according to the “think small first” principle

This chapter assesses policy areas defined under the “think small first” principle of the Small Business Act for Europe, which requires SMEs to be fully considered at the early stages of policy making in order to make legislation more SME friendly.

The first part of this chapter assesses the institutional framework for SMEs based on indicators referring to laws defining SMEs, strategies for SME development and institutions responsible for elaborating SME policy and implementing SME programmes. The second part focuses on measures simplifying legislation and the use of regulatory impact analysis in the policy making process. The third part addresses the regularity and representativeness of public-private consultations in the policy making process. The last part focuses on the existence and effectiveness of business associations and enterprise networks.

Overall, the results of the assessment show that there are general institutional coordination mechanisms in SME policy making in the MED region. However, comprehensive SME strategies are still missing in most economies, which points to the need of establishing well-defined plans, objectives, measurable targets and clear reporting lines. All economies could also introduce or strengthen administrative simplification and regulatory impact analysis as an intrinsic element of the SME policy making process.

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