Smart regulation – responding to the needs of SMEs

The European Commission has given SMEs the opportunity to tell them which European legislative acts they find the most restrictive. The results of this consultation were published on 7 March in the form of a Communication “Smart regulation – responding to the needs of SMEs”. Many organisations active in the real estate sector are SMEs, and this reflects also some of their concerns.

Areas in which SMEs see the biggest difficulties and costs include for example value added tax, recognition of professional qualifications, data protection, waste legislation, labour market related legislation and public procurement.

The Commission will now address these concerns via the new Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme launched in December 2012. This involves the screening and if appropriate revision of legislation. The Commission will announce follow up actions by June 20123, taking into account the outcome of the ongoing legislative process. In some of these areas, such as professional qualifications, data protection and procurement, the Commission has already taken action to improve and simplify EU legislation.

A new annual scoreboard has also been presented which tracks progress on SME-relevant legislation and identifies how different approaches to implementation affect the overall result for SMEs. There will be a network of SME Envoys created to follow up the results of the consultation and make administrative burden reduction a priority in Member States.

More information is available at