Europe 2020 is the EU's growth strategy for the coming decade. The EU wants to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. These three mutually reinforcing priorities should help the EU and the Member States deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.

In the context of this strategy, the European Commission has developed a specific plan to help European enterprises and in particular, SMEs to seize global opportunities by streamlining and strengthening the national and international support that is available to them.

Internationalisation refers not only to exports, but to all activities that result in a meaningful business relationship between enterprises and a foreign partner: exports, imports, foreign direct investment, international subcontracting and international technical co-operation. Research has shown that internationally active enterprises are more likely to create new jobs, to grow and to improve their competitiveness and long-term sustainability.

Internationalisation does not only involve large enterprises. A considerable number of European SMEs are also engaged in international activities, however, only a small percentage is involved in internationalisation beyond the Internal Market. Trade, manufacturing, transport and communication and research are the most internationalised sectors in Europe. Partner countries are mainly other EU countries, with the exception of imports from China, where relations with BRIC countries are generally underdeveloped.

The most important barriers reported by SMEs are:

  • Internal barriers: price of their own product or service and the high cost of internationalisation;
  • External barriers: lack of capital, lack of adequate information, and lack of adequate public support and the costs of or difficulties with paperwork associated with transport.
Panteia carried out two of the studies that form the basis for the EU policy on the promotion of internationalisation of SMEs. The first study dealt with Internationalisation of European SMEs. This study was aimed at giving more insight into the size and characteristics of internationalisation of SMEs in the EU and was followed up by a second study called Opportunities for the Internationalisation of SMEs. This second study concerned the international business opportunities of EU SMEs in so-called third markets, i.e. markets outside the EU. In addition to detailed data information on internationalisation to third markets, the study also presented policy measures that would be helpful in improving the access to non-EU markets for European SMEs.

Contact us

Would you like to know more? 

Call us on: 079-322 20 00