|Author (Person)||Frost, Laurence|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.11, 15.3.01, p31|
SMALL companies are in talks with the European Commission's enterprise department in a bid to win more influence over product standards that they say discriminate against them.
European small firms lobby UEAPME will push to advance the issue at the Stockholm summit. The organisation says the costs of compliance with EU and international standards are often too much for smaller companies which, as a group, employ around half the Union's workforce.
"To meet standards like ISO 9000 you need a manual of several thousand pages," said Loucas Gourtsoyannis of UEAPME. "In a big company you have several specialists just working on that. Imagine what it's like for a firm of three or four people."
Gourtsoyannis believes the integration of environmental concerns into other policy areas promises to generate more standards directives.
In talks which began a month ago with DG Enterprise officials, UEAPME is pushing for an increase in EU funding to bolster its role in representing small firms on the European standards bodies.
In the longer term, it is looking at ways to bypass the red tape and cost of the Union committee structure, by creating a new category of self-administered standards for smaller firms.
The proposals - to be submitted in response to an invitation from the Commission - could be modelled on schemes in the UK and France that allow goods and service providers to define their own independently-verified standards.
Small companies are in talks with the European Commission's enterprise department in a bid to win more influence over product standards that they say discriminate against them.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Internal Markets|