Commission launches new pact for skills, including upskilling of SMEs
The Pact for Skills, launched on 10 November, promotes joint action to maximise the impact of investing in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). It calls on industry, employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, public authorities, education and training providers and employment agencies to work together and make a clear commitment to invest in training for all working age people across the Union.
By joining the Pact, stakeholders will gain access to networking, knowledge and resource hubs. The Commission will also offer information and guidance on EU funding and programmes for skills development by offering a single-entry point at EU level. In addition to the funding available under REACT-EU, the European Social Fund Plus and other relevant programmes, up- and reskilling is one of the flagship investment priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility worth EUR 672.5 billion. Read more
Commission publishes more details on its upcoming insolvency initiative
The European Commission is planning a new non-bank insolvency initiative for the second quarter of 2022, and has published a roadmap that further explains its objectives.
The Commission’s plan is to go beyond the existing EU insolvency Directive to address notably some of the following dimensions:
- Prerequisites for when insolvency proceedings should be commenced (including a definition of insolvency and provisions on who is entitled to file for insolvency)
- Conditions for determining avoidance actions and effects of claw-back rights
- Directors’ duties related to handling imminent/actual insolvency proceedings
- Position of secured creditors in insolvency
- Asset tracing
The Commission is considering two options: either issuing a non-binding recommendation, or a legally binding EU Directive. A public consultation is expected in the next few weeks. Read more
Commission disburses €14 billion under SURE instrument to nine Member States
According to the Commission announcement, dated 17 November, Croatia has received EUR 510 million, Cyprus EUR 250 million, Greece EUR 2 billion, Italy an additional EUR 6.5 billion, Latvia EUR 120 million, Lithuania EUR 300 million, Malta EUR 120 million, Slovenia EUR 200 million and Spain an additional EUR 4 billion in SURE support.
The support consists of loans granted on favourable terms, to help cover countries’ costs related to the financing of national short-time work schemes, and other similar measures put in place as a response to COVID, including for the self-employed.
Accountancy Europe believes that such support will help many SMEs retain their employers and skills in difficult COVID times. Read more
Commission publishes IP Action Plan with key focus on SMEs
The Action Plan is a legally non-binding document in which the Commission sets out its plans to upgrade the intellectual property (IP) system in Europe, promote its smarter use, ensure better enforcement and promote fair play globally for IP.
Crucially for small businesses, the Action Plan wants to improve SME access to IP. It states that only 9% of EU SMEs have registered IP rights. The planned measures for SMEs include:
- Offering financial support or IP vouchers for SMEs impacted by the COVID
- Providing advice for SMEs on IP
- Make it easier for SMEs to leverage their IP when trying to get access to finance, as part of which the Commission will discuss with the “financial community” how IP valuation could help