Letter and memorandum from the Union of
Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE)
UNICE welcomes the Commission's initiative.
Europe needs to foster entrepreneurship more effectively and we
hope that the Green Paper will help to improve entrepreneurship
policy at all levels. Increased entrepreneurial activity has a
direct impact on the overall economic performance of the EU and
entrepreneurship is therefore a crucial element for achieving
the Lisbon objectives. UNICE is currently preparing its response
to the Green Paper in which it will focus on three main themes.
Firstly, taxation and finance for entrepreneurs; secondly, better
regulation and simplification; and thirdly, promotion of entrepreneurship,
changing attitudes and the role of education.
Reducing the tax burden is of direct relevance
to increasing rewards and frees capital for investment. UNICE
believes that an efficient functioning single market and a stable
macro-economic environment are all critical pre-conditions for
risk-taking by entrepreneurs and that particular attention should
also be paid to better regulation and reduction of fiscal and
administrative burdens and the promotion of the spirit of enterprise
throughout society to change attitudes to risk-taking.
UNICE is not in a position to submit evidence
regarding specific schemes and programmes in the areas of access
to finance and support of management and work force skills but
I will enclose a paper prepared by Mr Nick Bojas, Senior Policy
Adviser at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), regarding
some specific UK schemes and programmes in these areas. In addition,
you will find enclosed a one page document, prepared by myself,
which lists UNICE's priorities in the area of entrepreneurship
and a copy of the section on entrepreneurship which I contained
in UNICE's Lisbon Strategy Paper.
1. UNICE identifies the following areas
on which policy-makers should focus in order to foster entrepreneurship
in Europe. These are:
focus on an efficient functioning
single market and a stable macro-economic environment;
focus on taxation and finance;
focus on better regulation and simplification;
focus on promoting entrepreneurship,
changing attitudes and the role of education.
2. Within the area of an efficient functioning
single market and a stable macro-economic environment, UNICE identifies
the following central issues which should be addressed. These
timely, consistent and uniform transposition
of Community law;
liberalisation of utility industries
and increasing competition;
a well-developed infrastructure;
reduction of the overall scale of
public expenditure and debt; and
integration of capital markets.
3. Within the area of taxation and finance,
UNICE identifies the following central issues which should be
addressed. These are:
reduction of the overall tax burden;
facilitation of the transfer of businesses;
increase access to finance;
improve conditions for R&D investment;
reduce social security inequities.
4. Within the area of better regulation
and simplification, UNICE identifies the following central issues
which should be addressed. These are:
reduction of administrative burdens;
impact assessment and better consultation;
reduction of entry and exit barriers.
5. Within the area of promoting entrepreneurship,
changing attitudes and education, UNICE identifies the following
central issues which should be addressed. These are:
teaching entrepreneurial skills at
schools and universities;
improve attitudes amongst politicians
and civil servants at all levels;
encourage risk-taking by immigrants
change attitudes regarding failure;
promote networking and commercialisation
of spin offs; and
secure a qualified workforce.
Business calls for favourable framework conditions
for more dynamic entrepreneurship. A high level of entrepreneurial
activity has a direct impact on the overall economic performance
of the EU. UNICE requests the Commission to identify a focused
set of actions to foster entrepreneurship in the forthcoming Green
Paper. Lower costs and taxes for business, simplicity and less
red tape are necessary.
Entrepreneurship is key to growth and job creation,
as was rightly expressed in the Presidency Conclusions of the
Barcelona Summit. Entrepreneurs create new sources of wealth,
replace old inefficient firms with new innovative ones, and create
new jobs. Setting up favourable framework conditions for entrepreneurship
is of relevance not only for individuals launching a new business
enterprise and for small firms to survive, grow further and develop
but also for large firms to continue being entrepreneurial, to
adjust and grow.
Promote the spirit of enterprise
throughout European societies. All members of society should be
made more aware of the key role of entrepreneurship in improving
economic well-being. An entrepreneurial culture and skills should
be supported in schools and universities and among the working
population to encourage individuals to become entrepreneurs. Networking
between small and large firms should be promoted to create business
opportunities for small firms whilst allowing large firms to spread
risks and increase flexibility.
Create room for entrepreneurs and
reward risk-takers. A stable and supportive macro-economic environment
and an efficiently functioning single market are essential for
entrepreneurship. Reducing the tax burden is of direct relevance
to increasing rewards for risk-takers, the prospect of which is
elemental for entrepreneurs. A high level of government expenditure,
in combination with a high level of taxation, damages consumer
and business confidence and penalises entrepreneurship.
Release market potential and decrease
obstacles. The issue of administrative burden and over-regulation
is of major interest for entrepreneurship. In particular barriers
to market entry such as excessive procedures to obtain permits,
licences and approvals are damaging. Europe should be committed
to reducing these obstacles and calculating the direct and indirect
costs of regulations and procedures, for instance, by means of
establishing a non-political agency independent from the EU institutions.
Barriers to exist from markets caused by high penalties associated
with failure should also be reduced to alleviate the hardship
of failure and create a culture where it is commonplace to restart
a business after failure.
Ensure financing of entrepreneurship
and employable workforces. Entrepreneurs have to raise money and
hire talented staff. Lack of financing is one of the most significant
barriers to the start-up and growth of businesses. A well-functioning
capital market and appropriate public support initiatives are
essential for entrepreneurs. To secure a qualified workforce it
is necessary to increase the provision of scientific, technological
and management courses throughout the education system. Also,
common rules on the mutual recognition of qualifications in the
EU should be improved and simplified to increase mobility.
"Entrepreneurial spirit is essential
for a more dynamic enterprise culture in Europe and must therefore
be enhanced throughout the education process. We need to generate
a more favourable attitude to risk-taking, and to promote and
encourage people who are prepared to take risks. We urgently need
to change mentalities, starting at school, by explaining the positive
aspects of entrepreneurial activity is an opportunity open to
José Maria Cuevas,
President of CEOE