What is the EU?
The EU is a collaboration between European countries. It aims to present a strong economic front. To this end, the EU ensures that companies can do business more easily. For example, by negotiating trade agreements. But also, by providing free traffic inside the EU, subsidies, and product quality agreements.
What organisations does the EU consist of?
These are the main ones:
- European Commission
- Council of the European Union
- European parliament
- European Central Bank
- Court of Justice of the EU
- Council of Europe
How does the EU benefit my business?
Easier and cheaper imports and exports
The EU internal free traffic of goods and services means it is easier to import and export inside the EU. In most cases, you do not need to file Customs declarations, for example. There are some exceptions to this. Excise duty goods, such as tobacco products or alcoholic drinks, require paperwork whether you are transporting them inside the EU or (from) outside. The EU also works on closing trade agreements with countries outside the EU. Thanks to trade agreements, you get to pay less or even no import duties. Customs transactions are usually simplified. And the quality standard of products is high. Read more about importing and exporting outside the EU.
The EU offers several subsidies to SMEs. Projects like Horizon2020 help small and medium-sized companies to get started and grow. The Single Market Programme also aims to make the EU market more accessible.
No currency risk
Easier to hire personnel inside the EU
There is free movement inside the EU, not just of products, but also of people. This means it is a lot easier to hire employees from another member state, or post workers in another EU country, than it is to hire or post workers from or to a country outside the EU. You do not need a work permit for employees from another EU country. For employees from non-EU countries, you usually do need a work permit. Find more information about hiring staff on eures.ec.europa.eu. Or read one of our checklists.
Are there disadvantages?
Extra rules and work
The EU simplifies many things. But it also means extra rules. For example, the GDPR. This privacy legislation means extra work for businesses. Or food supplements. If you trade these, you also have to comply with extra rules. You can also incur extra work if you want to earn an EU trust mark. For example, a European e-commerce trust mark.
The free movement of goods means you can export to other EU countries more easily. But ita lso means entrepreneurs from other EU countries can export their goods to the Netherlands more easily. In other words, you can expect more competition from companies in other EU countries.
Dependency on EU policies
The decisions taken by the EU impact the Dutch legislation. And these, in turn, affect Dutch entrepreneurs. The EU does not weigh national interests when developing policies. It mainly concerns itself with the interests of the majority of member states. And not the interests of one country. How much impact EU regulations have on your business depends on your sector, the size of your company, and other factors. For example, if you import medical devices, you will have to comply with the EU rules for medical devices; and if you make clothes, you will have to meet the growing demands on producer responsibility.