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Eastern Partner Countries 2020

Assessing the implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is composed of six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) which collectively cover over one million km² and are home to 74.4 million people. The region is located in the vicinity of large markets including the European Union, Russia, and Turkey, and benefits from a vast area of agricultural land and considerable energy and natural resources. Although the pace of structural reform varies from one country to another, the region as a whole is on a trajectory of economic transformation, shifting progressively away from a growth model based on large enterprises specialized in intermediary outputs and commodity transformation, towards a more diversified and open economic structure.

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The SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2020 – Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe is a unique benchmarking tool to assess and monitor progress in the design and implementation of SME policies against EU and international best practices. It is structured around the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), which provide a wide range of pro-enterprise measures to guide the design and implementation of SME policies.

This report marks the third edition in this series, following assessments in 2012 and 2016. It provides a comprehensive overview of the state of play in the implementation of the ten SBA principles and monitors the progress made since 2016. It also identifies remaining challenges affecting SMEs in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and provides recommendations to address them based on EU and international good practice examples. The 2020 edition also features a novelty: An assessment of three new dimensions going beyond core SME policy (competition, contract enforcement, and business integrity) looking at key structural reform priorities that are critical to establishing a level playing field for enterprises of all sizes and ownership types.