MEPs have expressed concern at the continued lack of entrepreneurial fibre among Europeans. Sitting in plenary session in Brussels on 30 November, they adopted a resolution on "moving up a gear: creating a Europe of entrepreneurship and growth ".

The own-initiative report by Spain's Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP-ED) starts from the basic observation that the EU needs to review its position if it is to respond to rule changes in the new global economy in order "to ward against any slowdown in long-term economic growth". Access to the global market opens up possibilities for new niche markets for SMEs and lower costs in terms of research and development.

In this context, it is vital to succeed on this market. The only means of achieving this is to create "a European society of excellence based on knowledge". This culture of innovation should permeate all areas of national strategies on competitiveness. The member states are invited in this context to promote entrepreneurship from the earliest stages of education and to enhance their support for lifelong learning. MEPs also urge the European Commission to contribute to ironing out the remaining illegal disparities between member states regarding trade legislation iorder to guarantee an open and competitive market.


Parliament also highlights the need to "free up European creativity". The member states must give fresh impetus to knowledge, research and innovation through lifelong learning, language learning and training in information and communication technologies.

The Community Patent remains absolutely vital in order to protect European ideas and reduce patenting costs. The Commission should also develop its Euro Info Centres network in order to establish easily identifiable one-stop shops' and mediators between SMEs and member states. The aim should be to apply Community legislation in as pragmatic a fashion as possible.

The 23 million European SMEs therefore constitute the principal element behind economic and social cohesion. The Commission and the...

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