Brussels Praises Bulgaria SME Start-Up ProcedureBulgaria in EU | December 18, 2009, Friday // 09:30| views
European Union (EU) Commission chairman Jose Manuel Barroso. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The European Commission has praised the governments of European countries, including Bulgaria, for efforts to support small businesses through loan and guarantee schemes, and for making it easier to set up a new company.
In its progress report on the implementation of the Small Business Act, the EU executive said Bulgaria has consolidated the streamlining of start-up procedures initiated in 2008, with nine start-up procedures having been merged and simplified into just one, EurActiv reported.
The European Commission singled out Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Germany for subjecting all new legislation to an “SME test” to ensure it is business-friendly.
The assessment strikes a more upbeat tone than that of business groups, which came together earlier this month to complain that member states have been dragging their feet in implementing reforms agreed in Brussels.
The Commission said there had been "good progress" on implementing the Small Business Act, adopted by enterprise ministers in 2008. Simplified state aid rules have allowed national governments to extend loans to struggling SMEs, while the European Investment Bank and Fund gave EUR 11.5 B to small firms in 2009.
Several governments have already committed to enforcing the revamped Late Payments Directive, which forces the public sector to pay contractors within 30 days.
However, business groups have complained of major disparities across Europe – with authorities in southern European countries less likely to pay on time – and say the problem of late payments in the private sector has become worse this year.
The positive line taken by Brussels sparked frustration among business groups, who said they were "disappointed" that the EU was glossing over the bad news by exclusively promoting success stories.
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