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Interne Markt, Industrie, Ondernemerschap en Midden- en Kleinbedrijf

International activities

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs helps the internationalisation of European businesses and their competitiveness in order to generate growth and jobs. The mission goes beyond the need to explore opportunities in foreign markets. It also lies in the necessity to work for the good integration of EU companies in international value chains and to ensure a level playing field.

Ensuring a level playing field for EU businesses

We work to ensure a fair and level playing field for European businesses so that they can exploit opportunities in non-EU markets.

Cooperation with governments

We coordinate and organise regulatory and industrial policy dialogues with many of the EU's strategic partners. This activity aims to achieve greater convergence of the rules affecting global business, reducing barriers and costs and making it easier for European companies, especially small businesses, to access non-EU country markets. The dialogues cover issues such as standards, conformity assessment and innovation, and industry sectors including space.

Cooperation with governments

Cooperation with regions and international bodies

We promote industrial cooperation, small businesses, entrepreneurship and inclusive sustainable development with Southern and Eastern neighbour countries as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy. We also work with the Latin American region on initiatives that primarily target small businesses, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on issues including entrepreneurship, space policy and tourism.

Cooperation with regions and international bodies

Trade negotiations

We are involved in international trade and investment negotiations at multilateral (World Trade Organization) and bilateral levels (negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements).

Trade negotiations

Supporting the internationalisation of EU businesses

We put in place various EU instruments that contribute to the internationalisation of European businesses as access to markets outside the EU is essential for European industry.

Several instruments have been set up in the framework of EU programmes such as the COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) programme, the Instrument for Cooperation with Industrialised Countries, the Partnership Instrument, the European Neighbourhood Instrument, and structural and investment funds.

Overview of EU Instruments contributing to the internationalisation of European businesses (2023)

Enlarging the EU

We contribute to the enlargement process by defining policy priorities related to our portfolio for the countries that want to join the EU.

Enlarging the EU

More information

SME internationalisation beyond the EU

The Enterprise Europe Network

The European Business Organisation (EBO) Worldwide Network

Other Commission departments working in this area

The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

Directorate-General for Trade: Negotiations and agreements

Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations