Introduction. In an international landscape characterized by continuous structural changes and a growing competitive pressure, the role of SMEs is becoming increasingly important, in their capacity as providers of employment opportunities and key-players in the prosperity of local and regional communities.
Aim of the study. The paper highlights evolutionary benchmarks of the EU SMEs, with special reference to three indicators, namely the number of firms, number of employees and gross value added. The main EU documents relating to SMEs are briefly presented, specifically the “European Charter for Small Enterprises” and “Small Business Act” for Europe. In the final part of the paper we have analyzed the “skills and innovation” principle, which is of major importance in the context of the “A Union of Innovation” Initiative, included in the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Keywords: European Union, SMEs, Small Business Act, skills and innovation.
JEL Classification: L25, L26, M10, M21, O10.