"Achieving sustainable growth in a competitive world is challenging. The challenge is even greater for the European Union, as the Old Continent faces a severe competitiveness deficit. Without entering into a health review, that could be delivered at a further stage, of each of the 28 Member States, the ambition of this study is to draw-up a comprehensive picture of EU economic growth.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for governance improvements in the internal market with a view to removing bureaucratic hurdles for business. Its conclusion is that the European Commission, although active in cutting red tape in EU legislation, is not intervening yet in the case of gold-plating, which is over-compliance at the national/regional/local level. A key problem with gold-plating is precisely its tendency to overlap across multiple layers of competence. Gold-plating does happen and in certain cases undermines European competitiveness.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy. According to Commission estimates, the overall contribution of SMEs to EU-27 value added was more than 57% (EUR 3.4 trillion) in 2012. Although the role of SMEs in the EU economy is crucial and their well being should be a priority for European policymakers, they struggle with access to finance, especially in the countries severely hit by the crisis. The Greek experience can and should be taken as a case study and conclusions drawn on how to improve the system for the future.