Tag Archives: Businesses

EU support for business sector development in third countries

EU support for business sector development in third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU support for business sector development in third countries


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > Sectoral development policies

EU support for business sector development in third countries

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 19 May 2003: “European Community Cooperation with Third Countries: the Commission’s approach to future support for the development of the business sector” [COM(2003) 267 final – not published in the Official Journal].


On the basis of past experience in supporting business sector development in third countries, the Commission has identified five areas of intervention or instruments on which it will base its approach:

  • overall policy dialogue and support, in particular as regards macroeconomic and trade policy, and good governance, providing the regulatory framework;
  • investment and inter-enterprise cooperation promotion activities;
  • facilitation of investment financing and development of financial markets;
  • support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the shape of non-financial services;
  • support for micro-enterprises.

“Third countries” here include developing countries, countries in transition and/or reconstruction, the so-called “emerging economies”, Mexico and the OECD countries. The term does not include the candidate countries for accession to the EU.

Businesses concerned include private sector enterprises of whatever size and those public sector enterprises operating under market conditions.

Overall policy dialogue and support

The Community’s action in this area will aim at creating, through dialogue with its local counterparts, a policy framework at national and regional level to support and foster competitiveness, the market economy and good governance.

This will encompass technical assistance in support of reforms, particularly in the areas of legislation, banking, finance, taxation, public expenditure, customs procedures, trade facilitation measures, institution building and administrative efficiency.

Investment and inter-enterprise cooperation promotion activities

Community support for the promotion of investment and technology transfer from industrialised to developing countries will aim, at national and regional levels, to enhance:

  • sustainable and environmentally friendly investment (especially from abroad);
  • inter-enterprise cooperation agreements with a view to increasing the competitiveness of the economies concerned, and in particular enhancing export prospects.

Depending on the level of development of the countries involved, Community support could include strengthening the role of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), providers of investment-related services and other private intermediaries (Chambers of Commerce and Industry, professional associations, consultancies).

Facilitation of investment financing and development of financial markets

On the assumption that more efficient financial markets are essential for healthy private sector development in developing countries, the Commission intends to provide the appropriate framework for supplying well-developed and efficient financial services for SMEs.

The instruments that will be set up, especially the investment financing facilities, will ensure that high-quality and dedicated financial services are available to private companies in both the formal and informal sectors.

This should in particular mobilise private savings flows (both domestic and foreign) to finance investments that are essential for a thriving business sector.

Support for SMEs in the form of non-financial services

On the understanding that effective business development services are essential for the growth of SMEs and micro-enterprises, the Commission will encourage private sector companies to enhance their competitiveness, gain access to modern technology, improve management and seek new markets.

Several measures will be introduced, including:

  • initial and ongoing guidance for companies and professional associations;
  • upgrading of skills to help modernise enterprises and encourage the creation of networks of enterprises or cooperatives;
  • assistance with preparing and implementing business plans; etc.

Support for micro-enterprises

In many countries, micro-enterprises are the ideal means of participating in economic growth, particularly for the most disadvantaged. The greatest obstacle to the development of such enterprises is a shortage of appropriate local services, both financial and non-financial, the lack of a business culture and information about markets, and access to financial resources.

To support micro-enterprise development, the Commission proposes, in addition to the macro-and micro-economic criteria noted above, helping third countries to:

  • strengthen institutions and the capacity of intermediary bodies which represent micro-enterprises and act as providers of public goods;
  • encourage micro-finance institutions to develop new services and financial products which are well adapted to the medium- and long-term needs of small and micro-enterprises;
  • integrate micro-finance within local financial systems;
  • improve the performance of micro-finance bodies.

Implementation and follow-up

The Commission plans to retain complete control of the monitoring and assessment of the instruments put in place, and of policy, programming and design aspects of these five areas of intervention. This may also involve the implementation of specific measures, including technical assistance.

As regards the implementation and management of financial instruments, including micro-finance and non-financial services (Business Development Services), the Commission plans to make full use of intermediaries with whom it will establish appropriate management/financial agreements or conventions.

The Commission will also seek to promote and develop more effective cooperation and coordination between the Community’s external assistance programmes and the activities of the European Investment Bank and other financial intermediaries, particularly in third countries.

Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism

Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enterprise > Industry

Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 19 October 2007 – Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism [COM(2007) 621 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication is the official launching and endorsement of an Agenda for sustainable and competitive tourism. The objectives of this Agenda are to deliver economic prosperity, social equity and cohesion and environmental and cultural protection.

These involve several challenges for the sector, including:

  • ensuring the safety of tourists and local communities;
  • protecting the natural and cultural resources of tourist destinations;
  • minimising resource use and pollution in tourism destinations;
  • managing change in the interests of the wellbeing of the community;
  • reducing the seasonality of demand;
  • addressing the environmental impact of transport linked to tourism;
  • making tourism experiences accessible to all, without discrimination;
  • improving the quality of tourism jobs.

The objectives of the Agenda will be achieved by means of appropriate policies such as sustainable destination management (for example, through spatial and land use planning or investment decisions on infrastructure and services), the integration of sustainability concerns by businesses and raising awareness of sustainability among tourists.

To achieve competitive and sustainable tourism the Commission proposes the following principles:

  • taking a holistic and integrated approach in order to ensure that tourism is well balanced and respectful of society and the environment;
  • planning for the long term, with an eye to the needs of future generations as well as our own;
  • achieving an appropriate pace of development, respecting the character of tourist destinations;
  • involving all stakeholders;
  • using the best available knowledge and sharing it across Europe;
  • minimising and managing risk (precautionary principle), i.e. taking preventative action to avoid damage to the environment or society;
  • reflecting impacts in costs (user and polluter pay) – prices should reflect the real costs to society of consumption and production activities;
  • setting and respecting limits, where appropriate – it is sometimes necessary to evaluate the capacity of tourist destinations and to limit the amount of tourism development;
  • undertaking continuous monitoring – sustainability means being alert all the time.

All tourism stakeholders in Europe are called upon to participate in the implementation of this Agenda: public authorities at all levels, businesses, tourists, educational and research establishments, trade unions, consumer associations, NGOs and international organisations. The Commission, for its part, plans to implement all of the actions set out below.

Mobilising actors to produce and share knowledge

Best practice related to sustainability and competitiveness must be shared. For this reason the Commission actively supports or will actively support the following initiatives:

  • the organisation of conferences and studies and the publication of a tourism learning area handbook;
  • cooperation between universities, research institutes, public and private observatories, tourism education and transnational training;
  • the creation of alliances between different types of destinations, the strengthening or the creation of platforms;
  • the organisation of the annual European Tourism Forum;
  • the use of the annual reports from Member States;
  • the collection and provision of statistical and geographic data and the activity of observatories;
  • the sharing of best practice with international organisations.

Promoting destinations of excellence

The Commission will continue to implement the “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN) initiative. It will also continue to promote Europe as a sustainable, quality destination. It will work towards this with the European Travel Commission and the national tourism organisations, and will lend greater support to the European Destination Tourism Portal.

Mobilising EU financial instruments

Tourism projects may receive funding from several Community funds, including:

  • the Cohesion Fund (in particular the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund);
  • the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development;
  • the European Fisheries Fund;
  • the 7th Framework Programme for Research;
  • the Leonardo da Vinci Programme;
  • the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

Mainstreaming sustainability and competitiveness in Commission policies

Several Community policies can have an effect on tourism and its sustainability: environment, transport, employment or research. These policies have different impacts depending on the region. The Commission will take into account the specific needs of the areas, whether coastal areas, mountainous areas, rural areas or urban areas.

Green Paper: European Contract Law for consumers and businesses

Green Paper: European Contract Law for consumers and businesses

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper: European Contract Law for consumers and businesses


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enterprise > Business environment

Green Paper: European Contract Law for consumers and businesses

This Green Paper launches a consultation of stakeholders in order to identify solutions which could improve contract law in the European Union (EU). Different national rules effectively hinder the smooth functioning of the European internal market. The proposed options should help to resolve the existing problems.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper from the Commission of 1 July 2010 on policy options for progress towards a European Contract Law for consumers and businesses [COM(2010) 348 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In this Green Paper, the Commission sets out solutions aimed at improving the coherence of European Contract Law. Some of the options presented concern rules which are mandatory, others concern solutions which are more flexible and may be implemented voluntarily by Member States. Following an assessment of the results of the consultation being launched by this Green Paper, the Commission is to propose new European legislation before the end of 2011.

New European legislation could facilitate and increase business activity and consumer confidence when concluding contracts of sale in another European country. A new European legal instrument also provides a way to increase legal certainty and to reduce the high transaction costs involved in this type of trade. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are particularly affected by these issues.

A new legal instrument would enable European businesses to make savings, increase their product offer and provide better value for money to the benefit of European consumers.

A new European instrument

The Commission makes a set of proposals on the legal nature of the instrument. It could take the form of:

  • a publication by an Expert Group, whose recommendations could be used in the development of laws and model contracts;
  • a toolbox for legislators, in the form of a Commission act or an interinstitutional agreement (between the Commission, Council and Parliament), to be used as a reference on matters of contract law;
  • a Commission Recommendation, for European Union (EU) countries to gradually and voluntarily adopt a European instrument. This solution would give them the option to either amend their national law or to create an optional regime;
  • a Directive on harmonising national laws, drawn up on the basis of minimum common standards. States could therefore retain more protective rules than those in the Directive;
  • a Regulation setting up an optional instrument, specifically an alternative legal regime could be adopted by every country, providing contracting parties with the option to freely choose between the two regimes;
  • a Regulation establishing European Contract Law, replacing national legislations;
  • a Regulation establishing a European Civil Code, which would replace not only national contract laws, but also the rules applicable to other related fields (such as tort law and benevolent intervention).

These new standards could relate to:

  • contracts between businesses and consumers. In this area, the applicable law is to be partially harmonised (“minimum harmonisation”), specifically to ensure consumer protection. In the event of dispute between parties from two different countries, businesses shall apply the law of the country of residence of the consumer, or at least the mandatory provisions;
  • business-to-business contracts. In this area, the parties are free to choose the law applicable to the contract.

In addition, the scope of the new instrument could cover all domestic and cross-border contracts or cross-border contracts only.

Finally, the content of the instrument could provide:

  • certain rules for general contract law, particularly those relating to the formation and performance of contracts, to the right of withdrawal, to change of parties, etc.;
  • general rules and rules specific to certain types of contracts, for example concerning the most prevalent types of contracts (sale of goods and certain provision of services).