Take- outs from Single Market Forum 2016/2017

Kasia Jakimowicz

During the final event of the Single Market Forum 2016/2017 policy makers together with entrepreneurs discussed issues related to the Single Market in eight dedicated workshops. Here, a brief summary of conclusions from the first three:

How to build a better startup scaleup ecosystem in Europe?

A lack of specialists for startups and building ecosystems is obvious in Europe. Scaling up requires flexibility and speed as market conditions are changing fast. Thus building ecosystems that link different initiatives and people for skills and resources and knowledge is needed — for instance, via platform for scale-ups where young entrepreneurs are matched with experienced mentors from successful companies.

A particularly important link missing is the one between entrepreneurs and the resources of the governments and the EU.

Make it easier to speak to the government — an interesting point made by entrepreneurs is that things that are being done by the EU are not known for entrepreneurs. Information has to be given in a way which the entrepreneurs can understand.

  • Public consultations have to be a duty for the government, but they have to be more practical, simple, efficient and quick.
  • Public-private partnerships should be formed more frequently and this might be the way to learn from each other.

What are the barriers to the Single Market?

Attendees of the event tried to tackle two questions: Where business cooperation, internationalization and digital address challenges to EU SME’s? and Will enforcement, compliance and surveillance promotes a better SME market integration?

On the latter, participants concluded that any new initiatives on the Single Market should be open to all Member States from the start and take their perspective into account. An integrated approach between all EU tools and between EU level with Member States rules is necessary to ensure a better enforcement and compliance of Single Market rules. In particular:

  • An effective and fast complaint-solving system for SMEs experiencing their internal market rights being denied should be put in place (regardless of the type of legislation).
  • Market surveillance systems in Member States should maximize the use of digital tools to set up effective operational instruments / processes;

Concerning challenges to EU SME’s and how business cooperation, internationalization and digital address them, participants concluded that the EU Single Market has to keep improving the business environment for SME, improving access to information for SMEs on markets and relevant regulations; simplifying administration burden for cross-border activities; promoting more SME targeted tools; and ensuring that future national legislations prevent the emergence of new barriers to trade.

  • EU SME integration in Global Value Chains (GVC) should be achieved through a smart combination of innovation and internationalization measures, and Europe Enterprise Network (EEN) should be a strategic tool to promote integration of SME on EU market and in GVC.
  • As far as the Digital Single Market is concerned, the Single Digital Gateway (SDG) should offer companies all the information and assistance they need to operate across borders, including the possibility to complete procedures entirely online. The current Commission SDG proposal should be more ambitious regarding administrative procedures that can be done online.

How to regulate collaborative economy?

In spite of the tremendous benefits, collaborative economy still faces some challenges. The issues identified are lack of clear and verified data on the collaborative sector and data from platforms, legal fragmentation in terms of whether action should be taken at national or EU level, detecting companies trying to evade the law etc.

Potential ways to address these issues are:

  • Creation of a forum between governments and platforms on collaborative economy for discussion on the future simplification of national laws
  • Sharing of data and information among platforms, Member States, EU and associations to monitor trends, develop best practices and promote harmonisation of standards

Participants concluded that status quo is not an option. Member States and local authorities shall be left with ample space of discretion whereas EU could coordinate and act on data and trends matured at local levels.

Conclusions

We will soon share conclusions from other workshops so watch this space & also join the online debate on Online SME Assembly.

Kasia Jakimowicz

Written by

Strategic policy advisor in the field of ICT, innovation and knowledge society, data economy, startups and scale-up policies, alternative finance and more.

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