EU Commissioner: 'Business to be fully consulted on all e-legislation'

Keith Nuthall The European Commission says it will subject any future legislation affecting the IT sector to a detailed...

Keith Nuthall The European Commission says it will subject any future legislation affecting the IT sector to a detailed "business impact assessment at the highest political level" to minimise the impact of e-commerce growth.

Unveiling a new EU policy Erkki Liikanen, commissioner for enterprise and the Information Society, said, "Entrepreneurship is the key to the new economy. Those who take risks must be rewarded and those who fail must be given a second chance. Unnecessary costs put in the way of enterprise, whether by barriers in the internal market, or by red tape, must be swept away."

The policy, dubbed Communication Challenges for Enterprise Policy in the Knowledge-driven Economy, was welcomed by Philip Virgo, secretary general of Eurim, the UK's European Infomatics Market which aims to link parliament, industry, Whitehall and Brussels. He said, "The most important thing is to let small businesses know what is going on."

Virgo said proper consultation would improve the quality of the legislation and that all tabled proposals should also be subject to comment from business for eight weeks after they have been passed to European and national parliaments.

Meanwhile, the commission has announced it will be allocating extra funding for small and medium-sized enterprises in the form of loan guarantees and support for risk capital provisions through a new Multi Annual-Programme on enterprise and entrepeneurship 2001-2005.

Over these five years, the EU will provide up to 230 million euros to develop small and medium-sized enterprises, with the IT sector being a key priority.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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