New Commission – shift in competences from SANCO to ENTR / Commission Consultation on SMEs

EUCOPE reported that on the 10th September, Jean-Claude Juncker, President-elect of the next European Commission, unveiled his new team of Commissioners, whose term will start on 1 November 2014. Alongside the new personnel the next Commission will see some changes in terms of competences between the Directorates, which will also affect health and pharmaceuticals.

In this regard, Units SANCO B2 (Health Technology and Cosmetics), SANCO D5 (Medicinal Products – Authorisations, European Medicines Agency) and SANCO D6 (Medical Products – Quality, Safety and Efficacy) will move from DG SANCO to DG Enterprise and Industry (ENTR). This also means that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will fall under the competence of DG ENTR. New Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (ENTR) will be the Pole Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

This shift of competences towards DG Enterprise could lead to a clearer focus on the industry’s needs in the future, which we see positively. We expect entrepreneurial competitiveness to play a more important role in the Commission’s future policy on pharmaceuticals. In addition, a stronger focus on SME aspects should be reflected in any of the Commission’s activities regulating this industry sector. So far it is not yet confirmed, whether this shift to DG ENTR  will lead to changes of the main personnel in these units.

New European Commissioner for Health Policy and Food Safety will be the former Health Minister of Lithuania Vytenis Andriukaitis. The complete list of Commissioners now will have to be approved by the Council and then be voted upon, as a whole, by the European Parliament.

Furthermorethe European Commission has launched a public consultation on the needs for SMEs from future EU policy, as it seeks input for its upcoming update of the Small Business Act (SBA). In spring, European business organisations and SME representatives from national government already agreed the five pillars of the SBA:

1.       Access to finance: Even with some indication of a more positive outlook, SMEs are still much in need of affordable solutions for their financing needs.

2.       Access to markets / internationalisation: For SMEs to grow new markets need to be explored.

3.       Entrepreneurship: continued support for potential entrepreneurs is crucial because of continuing levels of high unemployment especially among young people.

4.       Better regulation: the reduction of administrative burdens continues to remain an important target, despite progress already made in this area.

5.       Training and skills of entrepreneurs and staff: for the economy to grow entrepreneurs need skills themselves and skilled staff.

The consultation focusses on reducing the administrative burden, access to finance, promoting market access for SMEs, releasing entrepreneurial & innovation potential for growth and boosting skills development. Besides giving concrete proposals the consultation also leaves room for own ideas and input on how to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs in the EU. The consultation is now open until 15 December 2014.

More information on the consultation can be found here: Companies who fall within the scope of the SME definition (<250 employees and annual turnover ≤ 50 Mio. Euro) are encouraged to participate in this consultation.

Published 10. September 2014 in News EU, News Germany, News Ireland, News UK