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Structural business statistics (SBS)

What are SBS?

Structural business statistics (SBS) cover industry, construction, trade and services. Presented according to the NACE activity classification, they describe the structure, conduct and performance of businesses across the European Union (EU) – data are available for the EU-27 and for the Member States.

The statistics can be broken down to a very detailed sectoral level (several hundred economic activities). A subset of the SBS information is also available for European regions, as well as according to the size of enterprises.

The information contained within SBS is therefore more detailed than national accounts (which contain a selection of data for 61 NACE Rev. 1.1 divisions, of which 48 are within the business economy covered by SBS).

The main indicators within SBS are generally collected and presented as monetary values, or as counts (for example, numbers of enterprises or persons employed); this is in contrast to short-term business statistics, where the data are presented as indices (generally in relation to a base year of 2005=100).

Generally SBS does not collect information on products. The external trade and the production of specific products are covered by external trade statistics and/or PRODCOM. The exceptional presentation of products statistics within SBS concern for example multi-yearly data for products sold in distributive trades, or information on certain financial products (such as life assurance).

Use and examples

SBS may be used to answer such questions as:

* how much wealth is created in an activity and how many persons are employed?;   
* is there a shift from the industrial sector to the services sector and in which specific activities is this trend most notable?;  
* which countries are relatively specialised in the manufacture of a particular activity, for example the manufacture of aerospace equipment?;  
* how productive is a particular activity, such as the chemicals sector, and how does it fare in terms of operating profitability?  

This list of articles provides some examples of how SBS statistics may be used to analyse the business economy.

How are SBS measured?

SBS are based upon data for enterprises or parts of enterprises, such as local units which are often used for regional SBS data. Enterprises or other units are classified according to a classification of economic activities called NACE.

An enterprise carries out one or more activities at one or more locations and may comprise one or more legal units. When an enterprise is active in more than one economic activity, then the value added and turnover that it generates, the persons it employs, and the values of all other variables will be classified under the enterprise’s principal activity; the principal activity is normally the one that generates the largest amount of value added.

Which parts of the economy does SBS cover?

SBS covers the ’business economy’ (NACE Rev. 2 Sections B to N and Division 95) which includes:

* industry 
* construction, and  
* distributive trades and services.  

Note that financial services (NACE Rev. 2 Section K) are kept separate because of their specific nature and the limited availability of most types of standard business statistics in this area.

SBS does not cover agriculture, forestry and fishing, nor public administration and (largely) non-market services such as education and health. For information on these areas of the economy, refer to national accounts by branch or other sector specific statistics.

During 2010 data for the reference year 2008 based on NACE Rev. 2 was published for some of the SBS datasets. Existing SBS data presented in terms of NACE Rev. 1.1 will be maintained in the database for those users wishing to analyse historical series. Starting with data for the 2009 reference year the information presented within SBS will be displayed only in terms of NACE Rev. 2.


The structural business statistics (SBS) database folder is found under the heading for industry, trade and services.

The quickest and easiest place to enter the database is through the folder titled 'SBS – main indicators'. There are two tables containing key SBS indicators, broken down by:

* NACE divisions, or by;  
* employment size classes and NACE divisions.  

The first table, European business, contains several key indicators for the whole non-financial business economy, with analysis down to NACE division level (2-digit); data are presented for EU aggregates and for individual Member States.

The second table, summary indicators - employment size classes, presents the main variables (number of enterprises, turnover; value added and employment), and a single derived indicator (apparent labour productivity) for the whole non-financial business economy, with analysis down to NACE division level (2-digit) combined with a size class analysis (micro, small, medium-sized and large enterprises) defined by the number of persons employed; data are presented for EU aggregates only.

Note that the sectoral nodes that are found within the database tree provide information in relation to the NACE Rev. 2 classification for 2008, while for earlier reference periods the NACE Rev. 1.1 classification is used - as such there is a break in the series and the two sets of data should not be combined.

Access to finance

Affordable and appropriate access to finance is an important issue not only for newly-starting and growing companies, as well as for existing ones who wish to expand their operations. It is thus significant for all businesses who strive to gain productivity, foster innovation, and hence create employment and wealth for the wider national and international benefits.

Access to finance is crucial especially for small and medium-size firms, due to their largest share in terms of number of enterprises, turnover and employment in the business economy. In recent years some evidence showed that lenders shied away from financing them because of the nature of the assets of these companies.

To shed light on these issues Eurostat, in consultation with its users for business statistics, the OECD, EIF and the ECB, has organised a business survey to obtain information on the access to various types and source of finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (10 to 250 employees).

Business demography

Business demography statistics present data on:

* the active population of enterprises;  
* their birth;  
* survival (followed up to five years after birth), and;  
* death.  

Special attention is paid to the impact of these demographic events on employment levels.

Business demography data can be used to analyse the dynamics and innovation of different markets, for example:

* entrepreneurship in terms of the propensity to start a new business, or;  
* the contribution of newly-born enterprises to the creation of jobs.  

Enterprise birth rates, death rates and two-year survival rates form part of the structural indicators used to monitor the progress of the revised Lisbon agenda.

Data collection
* Business demography data has been collected on a voluntary basis since 2002.  
* Currently 25 countries participate in the data collection exercise.  
* After the recently adopted amendment of the SBS Regulation, the business demography data collection has become part of the regular annual collection of structural business statistics.  
* Some 15 countries participated in the factors of business success development project, when enterprises that were born in 2002 and survived to 2005 were surveyed to obtain more information on the factors supporting or hampering the successful start-up of an enterprise.  

Business registers

Statistical business registers (BR) include information on the active population of:

* Enterprises carrying on economic activities contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP);  
* Their local units;  
* The legal units of which those enterprises consist;  
* Enterprise groups (association of enterprises bound together by legal and/or financial links).  

The characteristics recorded in the registers for the units are, for example:

* Identification characteristics: ID numbers, names, addresses;  
* Demographic characteristics: date of commencement/cessation of the unit;  
* Economic/stratification characteristics: economic activity (NACE), employment, turnover, legal form;  
* Information on control and ownership relations: parent/subsidiary legal unit, minority shareholder information, country of global decision centre.  

Statistical business registers are used:

* As a tool for the preparation and co-ordination of surveys;  
* As a source of information for statistical analysis of the business population and its demography;  
* To establish links with administrative sources;  
* For the identification and construction of statistical units.  

BR data is mainly used for supporting surveys and the analysis of statistical units, as well as their relations. Eurostat does not publish BR data for the Member States.


BR methodology is available in the business registers recommendations manual.

Policy context

The availability of statistical BRs is key to the compilation of consistent and comparable short-term and structural business statistics.

BRs are crucial for establishing efficient statistical survey frames which aim to reduce reporting burden on enterprises.

Business services

Business services (defined here as NACE Rev. 1.1 Divisions 72 and 74) are a driver of the knowledge-based economy. Their labour-intensive nature has also attracted interest in their potential as providers of new jobs in the future.

Contributing to the recent increase in the demand for business services, the growing trend in outsourcing has seen many enterprises use service providers for non-core professional activities.

Technological progress and the Internet are also important factors which have provided new production possibilities and new modes of supply.

Beyond the establishment of the framework of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and greater openness of international markets, the European Services Directive (2006/123/EC) should further strengthen the business services sector on the international stage. It seeks to:

* promote an internal market in services through the removal of legal and administrative barriers that have prevented enterprises from one Member State providing similar services in another Member State;  
* make it easier for businesses to provide and use cross-border services within the EU, increasing cross-border competition.

Given the flexibility and dynamics of the business services sector, it is important for analysts to have a detailed knowledge of both clients and products (which are becoming increasingly non-standard and customised according to client needs) in order to further their understanding of market forces in this domain.

In order to improve statistical coverage and respond to user needs, Eurostat has developed statistics on these dynamic areas of the economy since early 2000 with participating countries providing statistics on a voluntary basis.

From the reference year 2008 onwards, the business services data collection has become part of the regular annual data collection of SBS. Business services statistics are now based on Annex VIII of the SBS Regulation (recast).

Demand for services

The importance of services in the EU economy has risen, while the EU's industrial sector has been characterised by outsourcing and subcontracting, as well as the globalisation of production.

Since services are an important and growing area of the EU economy, they have attracted increasing political and economic interest, as a current and future motor for growth.

One reason why the services sector has grown in importance is the outsourcing phenomenon that has seen the demand for services increase, as many enterprises use service providers either for:

* non-core activities (such as transport or marketing services), or;  
* for part of their core activities to increase flexibility (for example, through the use of labour recruitment services).

Other reasons include technological developments – particularly in relation to information and communication technologies (ICT), which may allow services to be delivered over considerable distances (for example, Internet sales or call centres).

The objective of the development project on the demand for services was to collect information on the functioning of the internal market for services, allowing a more profound understanding of the extent of the use of services in the European economy. It provides information on:

* service providers;  
* types of service purchased;  
* the location of the main service provider;  
* barriers to purchasing services;  
* the level of expectations for future purchases, as well as;  
* information on service related investments in intangibles (such as tradable rights, ICT, R&D, marketing and sales).

The European services Directive (2006/123/EC) seeks to promote an internal market in services through the removal of legal and administrative barriers that have prevented enterprises from one Member State providing similar services in another Member State. The Directive aims to make it easier for businesses to provide and use cross-border services within the EU, increasing cross-border competition.

Entrepreneurship indicators

Eurostat is a partner in the OECD entrepreneurship indicators programme (EIP) which collects internationally-comparable statistics. The aim of the EIP is to develop a list of indicators, standard definitions and concepts, to facilitate the collection of statistics in this domain.

The challenge is to provide data that not only allows policy-makers and academics to understand better the rate and types of entrepreneurial activity, but also its impact (especially wealth creation, employment and productivity gains).

Measuring entrepreneurship – a three-pronged approach
* Performance – may, at least in part, be linked to the underlying business environment, conditioned by many economic, environmental and sociological factors, as well as the attributes of individual entrepreneurs. The indicators designed to measure performance comprise a basket of variables that generally reflect entrepreneurship, some of which have been collected for several years, while others will require new data collection exercises.  
* Impact - can be measured not just in monetary terms, but via a range of variables, e.g. GDP growth, employment creation, income distribution.  
* Determinants - entrepreneurial activity is likely, at least in part, to be self-fuelling, i.e. increased GDP means more money and thus easier access to finance for new businesses, while success stories encourage other potential entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into a real business. However, there may also be negative correlations (push factors), i.e. more people (thinking of) setting up their own business in times of economic hardship, e.g. high unemployment.

The empirical basis for work on entrepreneurship is still being developed. However, initial data grouped according to the draft indicator matrix are available. More information on different aspects of entrepreneurship can be found in several SBS domains:

* the size-class series within structural business statistics are a main source of data for analysing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including so-called micro enterprises with fewer than 10 persons employed;  
* business demography statistics – data on the active population of enterprises, their birth, survival and death – with a focus on how these events affect employment levels;  
* a pilot survey on the factors of business success.  

EuroGroups register

With the EuroGroups Register (EGR) project, Eurostat is creating a network of business registers used for statistical purposes in Member States, focused on multinational enterprise groups.

A multinational enterprise group (MNE) is defined as an enterprise group composed of at least two enterprises or legal units located in different countries.

In order to create the EGR, Eurostat collects enterprise group information from commercial sources and the national statistical business registers of the EU Member States and participating EFTA countries.

After the consolidation and validation process the EGR contains the global structure of the registered enterprise groups. Statistics compilers in national statistical institutes and national central banks receive access to all units of the MNE, if at least one unit of the group is located in their national territory. These populations can be used for survey frames at national level.

The necessary data exchange between the national statistical institutes, national central banks and Eurostat is defined in Article 11 of the Business Registers Regulation and implemented through two Regulations on exchange of confidential data.

To facilitate the identification of statistical entities (i.e. the enterprises) of large and complex MNEs, a project was launched with the aim to develop common definitions and methodology for 'profiling'.

Development of the EGR:
* The 2008 EGR cycle was carried out in 2009 and produced data for 6350 MNEs.  
* The 2009 EGR cycle was carried out in 2010 and extended the coverage to 8185 MNEs.  
* The 2010 EGR cycle was implemented in 2011 produced data for 10028 MNEs.  
* In 2012 the 2011 EGR cycle is implemented with maintenance of the 10 thousand MNE population.  
* From 2013 onwards EGR will be developed in the direction that it will be able to cover all relevant MNEs acting in Europe.  

The following units of a MNE and their characteristics are in the EGR:

* legal units: identity, demographic, control and ownership characteristics;  
* enterprises: identity and demographic characteristics, activity code (NACE), number of persons employed, turnover, institutional sector;  
* enterprise groups: identity, demographic characteristics, the structure of the group, the group head, the country of global decision centre, activity code (NACE), consolidated employment and turnover of the group.  

The EGR is foreseen to become the platform that supports the production of micro based statistics on globalisation in Europe. The data will serve national statistical institutes and national central banks to compile statistics and will not be disseminated by Eurostat to the public.

The EGR should serve as a unique survey frame for these and other statistics and thereby form the basic tool for improving these statistics, while also reducing the reporting burden.


Methodology on enterprise groups and registers is available in the business registers recommendations manual. Details on the methodology of EGR are available on the EGR website:

Policy context

The fragmented picture, the EU Member States currently have of MNEs operating in the European market, is causing increasing harmonisation problems for several statistics affected by globalisation (including foreign affiliates statistics (FATS), foreign direct investment (FDI), and external trade).

The developments of 'profiling' are part of the programme for modernisation of European enterprise and trade statistics (MEETS).

Factors of business success

The survey on factors of business success is a follow-up to the data collection exercise for business demography. While the business demography project provides data on enterprise births, survivals, deaths and related changes in employment, the purpose of this survey is to shed more light on factors that support or hamper the success of newly born enterprises.

Information is presented on the motivations for starting-up a business, barriers and risks encountered during the first years of existence, the current situation of the enterprise, and business plans for future development.

The population surveyed in this project was enterprises born in 2002, that had survived to 2005, and that were still managed by their founders at the time of the survey. Data are available from 15 countries that participated on a voluntary basis.


There are seven tables covering the same countries, variables, and activity (NACE) breakdowns, broken down by characteristics of the enterprise or the entrepreneur.

Enterprise characteristics:

* size class (employees) in the year of birth (2002);  
* size class (employees) in the year 2005.  

Entrepreneur characteristics:

* age;  
* gender;  
* activity;  
* experience managing an enterprise;  
* education.  

Foreign-controlled enterprises

Statistics on the structure and activity of foreign affiliates (FATS) provide information that can be used to assess the impact of foreign-controlled enterprises on the European economy. The data may also be used to monitor the effectiveness of the internal market and the gradual integration of economies within the context of globalisation.

Inward FATS

A foreign affiliate as defined in inward FATS statistics is an enterprise resident in a country which is under the control of an institutional unit not resident in the same country. Control is determined according to the concept of the 'ultimate controlling institutional unit' (UCI). The UCI is the institutional unit, proceeding up a foreign affiliate’s chain of control, which is not controlled by another institutional unit. Note that commercial presence in the territory of another country is only one of the modes of delivery of economic activities abroad. Data on inward FATS has been collected on a voluntary basis since reference year 1996. Currently, some 21 countries participate in this data collection exercise.

Outward FATS

Outward FATS are statistics describing the activity of foreign affiliates abroad controlled by UCIs located in the declaring country. In total, 13 countries provide these data on a voluntary basis, for some the first reference year dates back to 1995.

Legislative developments

When the two data collections (inward and outward FATS) were set-up, the data collection exercises were based on gentlemen's agreements between Eurostat and the Member States.

Regulation (EC) No. 716/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council of 20 June 2007 on Community statistics on the structure and activity of foreign affiliates (FATS-Regulation - see right-hand frame for a hyper-link) foresees the availability, at an EU level, of annual data on foreign affiliates from reference year 2007 onwards - covering all statistics on foreign affiliates - in other words, both inward and outward FATS.

Methodological background

The FATS recommendations manual provides the definitions and guidelines for national compilers and ensures meaningful and harmonised statistics at an EU-level. Further information on methodology is available in the SDMX metadata for inward FATS and for outward FATS.

Globalised businesses

Globalisation is not a new phenomenon, but this subject area has gained a lot of public interest as a result of:

* growing international competition within increasingly globalised markets;  
* the lowering of customs duties and tariffs, and;  
* the internationalisation of financial transfer options.  

The statistical capture of aspects relating to the globalisation phenomenon is not always straightforward, as the underlying activities are trans-national or multinational, and statistics are usually bound to national boundaries or to the aggregation of national data (in the European Statistical System, or in the OECD, for example).

The globalisation of the world economy therefore creates new needs for statistics and, at the same time, it changes the conditions for the production of business statistics. Activities of multinational enterprise groups, the outsourcing of activities, foreign direct investment, and other forms of foreign engagement are key elements in this regard.

While some existing statistics can already be used to analyse different aspects of globalisation, Eurostat is currently implementing a programme (MEETS) to modernise business and trade statistics to make sure that official statistics are capable of reflecting all these phenomena in the changing EU economy. Actions foreseen under this programme will include:

* a review of priorities;  
* the development of key characteristics and indicators in fields like globalisation;  
* work on harmonised definitions;  
* pilot projects to test the feasibility of new indicators, and;  
* supporting the Member States to develop statistics on globalisation in a harmonised way.  

In addition, a new development project on international sourcing has been launched, where the objective is to provide policy-makers with relevant statistical information on the motivations, extent and consequences of international sourcing (off-shoring, near-shoring, delocalisation, relocalisation, outsourcing or insourcing).

A business registers Regulation entered into force in the spring of 2008. It makes the recording of enterprise groups compulsory, as well as the exchange of data on multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their constituent units within the European Statistical System (for statistical purposes only). The exchange of data implies the creation of a Community register of MNEs, the so-called EuroGroups register (EGR).


Existing statistical domains within structural business statistics (SBS) which could be used to analyse globalisation include:

* statistics on the structure and activity of foreign affiliates which show the impact of foreign-controlled enterprises on the European economy;  
* business services statistics, where information on the location of clients shows the relative size of exports of business services to residents in other Member States or outside of the EU;  
* a development project on the demand for services which provides information on trans-border purchases and deliveries of services.  

Aside from SBS, information from balance of payments (BoP) statistics can be used to analyse different economic transactions between residents and non-residents of a country or of a geographical region.

Data on international trade in services, a component of the BoP current account, and data on foreign direct investment, a component of the BoP financial account, can also be used to monitor the external commercial performance of different economies. Outward FATS measure the commercial presence through affiliates in foreign markets.

Inter-enterprise relations

Eurostat launched a one-off survey with qualitative questions on relationships between enterprises. This approach is in contrast to the normal SBS framework where respondents are usually asked to deliver input and output data on their own enterprise, rather than information relating to any relations they have with other enterprises.

Data was collected on a voluntary basis in six Member States (Denmark, Germany, France, Portugal, Finland and Sweden). Since the origin of the idea to launch the project came from a French project and the methodological model had already been developed in France before its agreement and adaptation with the other five countries, the French data set is somewhat different and is not 100 % comparable.

Methodological work concentrated on the definition of types of inter-enterprise relationships. It is evident that a variety of subcontracting and outsourcing relationships exist, and that franchising is also an option in some business models, but an all-encompassing definition for all types of relationships was not agreed. As a result, only the most prevalent forms of co-operation and dependencies were defined for the survey.

The normal relationship between an enterprise and its suppliers/clients was not the focus of this survey. Large enterprises, in particular, tend to have different internal functions, for example R&D, ICT, or ancillary functions, for which different types of inter-enterprise relationships may exist. The main idea of the survey was to separate these from the core activities of the enterprise and to study the types of relationships involved. Linkages that exist between inter-dependent enterprises, such as between the headquarters of an enterprise and its subsidiaries were also excluded from the reference population.

As such, the pilot survey concentrated on questions such as how enterprises evaluate the importance of their relationships with others in terms of their own competitiveness, and which barriers are identified as preventing them from engaging in inter-enterprise relationships or obstructing the development of their enterprise.


Data on inter-enterprise relations are broken down by:

* country;  
* enterprise size class, and by;  
* economic activity (NACE).  

International sourcing

Industrial restructuring has been one of the main economic developments in the EU in recent decades, especially influencing the manufacturing sector, leading to debate over the deindustrialisation of Europe. A more recent trend, which has received a great deal of political and media attention, is the apparent increase in the international sourcing of services. The international sourcing of services is facilitated by technological developments, especially within ICT, allowing enterprises to codify and transfer information and knowledge globally. Another significant facilitator is increased globalisation within services markets as a consequence of market deregulation and trade liberalisation, including recent measures taken within the EU.

As the majority of service functions require a proximity to markets and clients, the initial focus of international sourcing within services was centred on back-office functions (for example, IT services or finance/accounting), enabled by the increased use of ICT and Internet connectivity. However, enterprises have more recently moved to delocalise various functions that focus on customer contacts (for example, the use of intelligent telephone software since the late 1990s, especially for call centres).

The phenomenon of international sourcing has a variety of labels and terms (often used without explicit definitions), such as:

* off-shoring;  
* near-shoring;  
* delocalisation;  
* relocalisation;  
* outsourcing, or;  
* insourcing.  

The somewhat generic heading of international sourcing has been chosen for this development project as there is no generally accepted definition for these phenomena.

The objective of this development project on international sourcing, which was launched in 2006, is to provide policy makers at a national and European level with relevant statistical information on the reasons for, the extent of, and the consequences of, international sourcing.

The project concentrates on international sourcing of existing functions/activities that are performed in-house or domestically sourced to either non-affiliated (external suppliers) or affiliated enterprises located abroad. It is important to emphasise that studies relating to the magnitude and impact of international sourcing are mainly based on anecdotal evidence, as no harmonised and internationally comparable official statistics are currently available.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often referred to as the backbone of the European economy, providing a potential source for jobs and economic growth.

SMEs are defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 persons employed. They should also have an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million (Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003). These definitions are important when assessing which enterprises may benefit from EU funding programmes aimed at promoting SMEs, as well as in relation to certain policies such as SME-specific competition rules. European Commission policy in relation to SMEs is mainly concentrated in five priority areas, covering:

* the promotion of entrepreneurship and skills;  
* the improvement of SMEs' access to markets;  
* cutting red tape;  
* the improvement of SMEs' growth potential, and;  
* strengthening dialogue and consultation with SME stakeholders.  

A special SME envoy has been set up in the European Commission Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry with the objective of better integrating the SME dimension into EU policies.

Annual structural business statistics with a breakdown by size-class are the main source of data for an analysis of SMEs. A limited set of the standard SBS variables (number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed, value added, etc.) is available mostly down to the 3-digit (group) level of the activity classification (NACE), based on criteria that relate to the number of persons employed in each enterprise. The number of size-classes available varies according to the activity under consideration. However, the main classes used for presenting the results are:

* micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;  
* small enterprises: with 10-49 persons employed;  
* medium-sized enterprises: with 50-249 persons employed;  
* small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1-249 persons employed;  
* large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.   

Methodology and classifications

Eurostat collects and disseminates methodological information. A basic summary of the methodology employed for structural business statistics is available at summary methodology for SBS.

More detailed methodological information relating to structural business statistics is stored on the RAMON server at methodological manuals relating to SBS.

This server also includes country specific methodological information as well as quality reports relating to the collection of structural business statistics in the Member States and other EEA countries at SBS methodology by country.


Current legislation

Given the large number of revisions and amendments that were made over time to the SBS Regulation, a process of recasting the legislation was concluded in March 2008.

SBS – recast (March 2008)

The key implementing legislation includes the following:

Data series: EC Regulation 251/2009

Definitions: EC Regulation 250/2009

Previous legislation

There have been considerable changes to the initial legislation adopted with respect to structural business statistics (SBS). SBS - legislative history:

Consolidated SBS Regulation, prior to the recast

Although the following links have no legal value, they provide consolidated versions of the main implementing legislation prior to the recasting exercise:

Data series: list of variables collected by sector


Policy context

European enterprise policy is conducted by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.

The European Commission's enterprise policies aim to create a favourable environment for business to thrive within the EU, creating higher productivity, economic growth, jobs and wealth. Policies are aimed at reducing administrative burden, stimulating innovation, encouraging sustainable production, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the EU’s internal market.

At the European Council meeting of 26 March 2010, EU leaders set out their plan for Europe 2020, a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and to create more growth and jobs. The latest revision of the integrated economic and employment guidelines (revised as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth) includes a guideline to improve the business and consumer environment and modernise Europe's industrial base. Additional information about the Europe 2020 strategy can be found on the Europe 2020 website.

In October 2010, the European Commission presented a Communication on An industrial policy for the globalisation era, which provides a blueprint that puts industrial competitiveness and sustainability centre stage. This new industrial policy establishes a strategic agenda and proposes some broad cross-sectoral measures, as well as tailor-made actions for specific industries, mainly targeting the so-called ‘green innovation’ performance of these sectors.

Enterprise policy on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is centred upon screening all new EU laws for their friendliness to smaller enterprises, with an attempt to reduce red-tape.

The Regional Policy Directorate-General is responsible for measures to assist the economic and social development of the less-favoured regions within the EU. Its aim is to promote a high level of competitiveness and employment by helping the least prosperous regions and those facing structural difficulties.

The central principles governing the internal market for services guarantee EU enterprises the freedom to establish themselves in other Member States, and the freedom to provide services on the territory of another EU Member State other than the one in which they are established.

    • Economical indicator for structural business statistics
      • 0 Turnover or gross premiums written
    • Classification of economic activities - NACE Rev.1.1
      • 0 Advertising
    • Media
      • 0 Total
      • 1 Newspapers, magazines and journals
      • 2 Advertising material distributed by post
      • 3 Radio
      • 4 Television
      • 5 Internet
      • 6 Outdoor and transport advertising (airplanes, buses, taxis, posters etc.)
      • 7 Other media
    • Geopolitical entity (declaring)
      • 0 Germany (including former GDR from 1991)
      • 1 Greece
      • 2 Spain
      • 3 Latvia
      • 4 Lithuania
      • 5 Romania
      • 6 Slovenia
      • 7 Slovakia
      • 8 Finland
      • 9 Sweden
      • a United Kingdom
      • b Norway