EU move to exempt small companies from accounting burdens welcomed locally

The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses through its membership of the European Small Business Alliance says it welcomes the decision this week by the European Parliament to adopt the Commission’s proposal to exempt micro entities (10 employees or less) from certain EU accounting burdens.

The exemption is the first real EU effort specifically aimed at micro-businesses and can be seen as the ‘flagship’ of the EU's overall commitment to reduce administrative burdens by 25% by 2010. The measure is estimated to account for savings of EUR 6.3 billion EU-wide, and is a major step towards achieving this 25% goal.


The current accounting requirements for EU businesses are laid down in the 4th and 7th Company Law Directives. When these Directives were created, SMEs were not seen as essentially different from large companies. "Yet, SMEs are often affected much heavier by the cost of regulations than larger companies," they say.

And add: The EU has come to acknowledge that small businesses have specific needs and that micro-entities are fundamentally different from medium-sized companies. The specific nature of micro-entities requires exemption from rules that are designed to fit large companies. The exemption allows Member States to align micro-entities’ reporting requirements with the real needs of users and preparers of financial statements, enabling them to remain the EU’s main providers of employment.

ESBA President Tina Sommer said that the decision of the European Parliament to adopt the Commission’s proposal is "a much awaited signal from the EU towards the small business community in Europe, showing that the European Union indeed has their interest at heart and is willing to help them survive the crisis.

"It increases the credibility of EU claims towards reducing administrative burdens and will positively affect the trust of the small business community in the EU’s efforts to support our smallest and most vulnerable businesses. ESBA urges the Council to follow in the Commission’s and Parliament’s footsteps and to commit to the EU’s promise to reduce administrative burdens”.


• The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses is one of the founder members of ESBA and holds a seat on its Board which meets every three months in Brussels. Founded in 1998 by eight independent national small business associations, The European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities.

ESBA also works towards the development of strong independent advocacy and benefits groups in European countries. ESBA's new website, which provides an innovative approach to communication amongst business organizations, reflects these three main fields of activity. Today, ESBA is one of the largest organizations based on voluntary membership in Europe.

Stuart Rodriguez, a Director of the Gibraltar Federation welcomed the news and said “This result comes after many years of representation in the heart of the EU institutions through our strong position in ESBA. We have reiterated the need for lobbying at the early stages of the decision-making process to ensure that the needs of our businesses are protected and regulation does not become an insurmountable hurdle. Too often, our jurisdiction is forced to react to EU-driven legislation when it has already become law but in this instance it has been shown that our little grain of sand (through ESBA) has paid dividends in exempting micro businesses (which includes the vast majority of local businesses) from the otherwise spiraling costs of doing business and complying with changing legislation. This is a clear example of how the international work of the Federation outside Gibraltar benefits the local business community.”