Serbia has formally joined the European Union’s Single Market Programme, following the signing of an agreement with the EU, the government announced.
The signing ceremony took place digitally, in line with high-level online protocol, at the Ministry of Finance. The agreement was inked by Serbia’s Finance Minister, Siniša Mali, and Kerstin Jorna, the European Commission’s Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs.
By participating in this initiative, Serbian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be equipped with an array of supportive tools. Primarily through the continued operation of the European Entrepreneurship Network in Serbia, they will have the chance to bolster their competitive edge, globalise their business ventures, and better equip themselves to tackle the challenges of the single market.
The programme also includes special calls for the enhancement of clusters, tourism infrastructure, and young entrepreneurship.
Specifically, the agreement will enable Serbian entrepreneurs to apply for EU project proposals through the Single Market Programme website. If deemed successful, Serbian firms will be given the opportunity to collaborate with other EU businesses and beyond on various EU-funded initiatives.
Two standout initiatives are the European Enterprise Network (EEN) and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE). These cross-border schemes aim to enable European and Serbian entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, experience growth, and gain stability through establishing solid cross-border commercial partnerships.
The EEN stands as the world’s largest international support network for SMEs. It offers a myriad of services ranging from guidance on single market rules, financing accessibility, innovation support, to networking across Europe and beyond to locate investors and business partners. Comprising over 450 organisations, it encompasses national and local chambers of commerce, innovation agencies, and regional development agencies. The EEN supports startups and SMEs from a broad array of sectors, from agriculture to artificial intelligence and from textiles to aviation.
The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme serves as a business exchange, assisting new entrepreneurs to acquire the necessary skills to start or successfully run a business. They exchange knowledge and business insights with seasoned entrepreneurs, collaborating overseas for periods ranging from one to six months.
The Single Market Programme (SMP) is an EU-funded scheme designed to help the single market realise its full potential and aid Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a budget of €4.2 billion spanning from 2021 to 2027, it offers an integrated support package to enhance the governance of the single market.
The Single Market has been at the heart of the Union for nearly three decades. It provides citizens with the freedom to live, work, and travel wherever they choose, offering consumers protection and a wider choice of high-quality products and services at competitive prices. With its legal security, market access, financial services, investment opportunities, and financing access, the Single Market also acts as a catalyst for businesses.
Photo: Tanjug/Sava Radovanović