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Open method of coordination: BEST procedure
As the realisation of the open method of coordination in the field of enterprise policy, the BEST procedure helps to identify and exchange best practices in order to stimulate the environment for enterprises. BEST projects are thus one of the instruments intended to achieve the objectives of the European Charter for Small Enterprises.
Europe is a reservoir of good practice in the field of enterprise policy. However, these examples of good practice are rarely known outside their home Member State. By sharing best practices, the Member States have the potential to enhance their performance and thus to increase the competitiveness of European companies.
The aim of the BEST procedure is to compare these best practices. It is the European Commission's response to the call from the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000 to create an open method of coordination to improve the environment for enterprises.
Several methods could be used to identify and exchange good practices, including comparing the performances of the Member States, peer assessment, seminars and conferences.
In the context of the BEST procedure, DG Enterprise and Industry has identified specific projects considered essential for the development of enterprises. These projects reflect the priorities laid down by the national governments and the enterprises themselves by way of the Enterprise Policy Group. Each year, the Commission launches a certain number of projects which then lead to the adoption of recommendations.
BEST projects are one of the instruments for implementing the objectives of the European Charter for Small Enterprises.
The BEST procedure has five steps:
- identification of specific sectors and issues, with the assistance of the Enterprise Policy Group;
- definition of the project (scale, aim);
- implementation (limit of 18 months and voluntary participation of the Member States);
- adoption of conclusions (systematic comparison of performances);
- follow-up (feedback of Member State information on changes in the environment for enterprises) to ensure real progress.
EXAMPLES OF BEST PROJECTS
"Models to reduce the disproportionate administrative burden on SMEs" (project launched in 2006)
The bureaucratic hurdles facing enterprises, in particular SMEs, considerably curb their growth. This BEST project aims to collect information on the various methods used by the Member States to reduce this administrative burden.
"Measures to support entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities" (project launched in 2004)
Entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities have many problems starting up and developing a business. This BEST project aims to collect information on national measures and support plans to solve these problems.
"Business Angels" (project launched in 2001)
Business Angels are private investors, often entrepreneurs, former entrepreneurs or executives with expertise in a particular sector. They provide venture capital to young entrepreneurs and can also provide management advice. This BEST project aims to raise awareness in the Member States about the potential of Business Angels to help alleviate shortcomings in the banking system in the area of business start-ups.
The BEST procedure was described for the first time in the communication entitled "Challenges for Enterprise Policy in the Knowledge-Driven Economy" [COM(2000) 256 final - Not published in the Official Journal] which accompanied the proposal for a decision of the Council on the Multiannual programme for enterprises and entrepreneurship (2001-2005), extended until 31 December 2006 and now replaced by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013).
To find out more about BEST projects, please consult the dedicated web page on the DG Enterprise site.