The European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP) has hailed the long awaited publication of the ‘Small Business Act Review’ as a step change in the recognition of the economic value of micro-enterprises.
John Brazier (founding member of EFIP, a pan-European group that campaigns for the recognition of independent, professional workers in Europe) commented:
“For the first time micro-enterprises have been officially recognised alongside SMEs and we welcome this as a step in the right direction. EFIP now calls on the Commission to build on this rhetoric and recognise the significance of independent professionals when shaping future policy proposals.”
Since its inception, EFIP has called for recognition of independent professionals as a vital force for the EU economy and for independents to be specifically considered by policy makers.
Fellow EFIP founder, John Niland added;
“The current economic situation is crying out for innovation. In every marketplace, independent professionals are constantly stimulating ideas and those implementing them. If Europe is really going to ’think small first’, what better way is there to encourage creativity than by supporting independent professionals?”
Published on 23 February, the review of the SBA aims to tackle the problems faced by SMEs and micro-enterprises. In adopting the review, the European Commission has committed itself to lighten the regulatory burden on Small and Medium sized businesses, improve their access to finance and make it easier for them to work across national borders.
The proposals include measures to cut red tape and introduce the ‘SME Test’: an impact assessment procedure to ensure that impacts on SMEs are thoroughly analysed and taken into account in all relevant legislative and policy proposals.
It is with reference to the SME test that the review distinguishes between SME’s and micro-businesses:
“the differences between micro (and) small and medium-sized enterprises need to be recognised and be taken into account when applying the ‘SME Test’, and, where appropriate, specific measures such as reduced fees or simplified reporting obligations should be envisaged.”
EFIP will continue to promote the value of independent professionals to the European and national economies and to ensure that independent working is respected as a legitimate alternative to employment.