Western Balkans and Turkey: Business environment improving but further support for SMEs is needed for jobs and growth

By EBRD  Press Office
@ebrd

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 The pre-EU accession economies of the Western Balkans and Turkey have improved their business climates in the past three years, but governments need to implement more targeted policies to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) if they want to boost wider growth and employment, says a new joint report by the OECD, the European Commission, the European Training Foundation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The SME Policy Index: Western Balkans and Turkey 2012 – Progress in the implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe, benchmarks the region’s progress on SME development since 2009 and for the first time includes Turkey. The was released today in Zagreb, Croatia, at an entrepreneurship summit co-hosted by the Croatian government, the European Commission and the South East European Centre of Entrepreneurial Learning.

While general improvements have been made in simplifying administrative and company registration procedures, strengthening the institutions that support SMEs, increasing inter-agency cooperation, and boosting skills development and export promotion, the report notes differences in performance across the region:

Croatia, Serbia and Turkey are leaders in SME policy reform and convergence with the EU acquis.

  • Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro have implemented business-friendly policies and improved their registration systems, but need to make a greater effort to boost innovation and provide support services to both start-ups and more established firms.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* still need to develop an overarching policy framework for supporting SMEs and developing skills, ensure better cooperation between the state and local level of government and reduce dependence on donor assistance.

The SME Policy Index uses 108 policy indicators  to help policy makers identify strengths and weaknesses in policy design and implementation; compare experiences and performance; set priorities; and measure convergence towards implementation of the policy principles promoted by the Small Business Act for Europe.

More information and summary (1MB - PDF) Full report will be available on 20 November 2012.

Contacts

Mrs. Anita Taci, Senior Economist, EBRD Chief Economist Office: +44 (0) 207 338 7345
Mrs. Svitlana Coppola, EBRD Press Office: +44 (0) 207 338 7805
Mr. Antonio Fanelli, Deputy Head, OECD Private Sector Development Division: +33 (0)1 45 224 97 07 / antonio.fanelli@oecd.org
Ms. Vanessa Vallée, Communications Manager, OECD Private Sector Development Division: +33 (0)6 28 56 06 10 / vanessa.vallee@oecd.org

 
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