Volume IX, 8-2010
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Water supply and wastewater treatment in the EU external aid programmes

Sectorial seminars represent a great opportunity for companies to get familiar with EU programmes focusing on development and external aid provided to third countries. Moreover, it is an ideal way to find suitable business partners for future cooperation among companies from different Member states.

On November 24th, CEBRE and CzechTrade in cooperation with Czech, Swedish and German Permanent representations to the EU organised a sectorial seminar on Water supply and wastewater treatment in the EU external aid programmes. More than 200 participating companies from all over Europe operating either as consultants in the water supply and wastewater treatment area or companies active in this field had a possibility to get to know latest news concerning external aid of the EU dedicated to water supply sector and wastewater treatment sector.

In the week from 22 to 26 November 2010, Andrei Bunis, EU official of DG Enterprise and Industry, visited the Czech Republic to find out obstacles faced daily by Czech SMEs. Mr. Bunis then participated in the European Commission’s Enterprise Experience Programme, which is designed for EU officials to obtain information from the real environment to be further used to improve the European legislation and initiatives. Mr. Bunis met with business representatives at national and local level, with Enterprise Europe Network, and spent three days in Step Trutnov, a company that produces biomass boilers and pressure vessels. Size of SMEs limits their access to finance and their capacity to deal administrative burden. “Unnecessary administrative burden arises from both European and national level”, indicated business representatives during the meetings.

By 2010, the Czechs should have succeeded to reduce the administrative burden by 17% compared with 20% foreseen. Many measures were implemented such as the simplification and acceleration of granting business licenses, facilitating business start-ups and the introduction of the log books fee. However, many businesses do not feel the reduction of red tape. It is still hard to find out information on directives implemented into the Czech legal system so that businesses could prepare for new legislation. Businesses also complain about information available on EU funding, doing business in the EU and European legislation. There is a lot of information but their sources are not well coordinated and companies, especially SMEs, are disoriented.

In this respect, it would be helpful to improve the coordination in the individual information portals and networks managed by the European Commission (Enterprise Europe Network, Europe Direct, SOLVIT, European Consumer Centres, Your Europe website, etc.).

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Other articles in this issue:

Business Economic Forecast 2011
Stability, credibility of the euro is the biggest priority!
ENERGIZING EUROPE: Prague European Energy Forum 2010: Strategies for the near future