Politicians from across Europe have been meeting in Bern to discuss ways of helping struggling small and medium-sized businesses find their feet in emerging economies.This content was published on May 16, 2003 - 10:04
The three-day talks have been organised by the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The meeting is the first time in the 12-year history of the OSCE that the parliamentary assembly has gathered in Switzerland.
Barbara Haering, the OSCE parliamentary assembly vice-president, told swissinfo that this week's meeting was examining the plight of small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries.
"Countries in transition are facing a big challenge to develop a decentralised economy for small and medium-sized enterprises," she said.
Haering said part of the problem was that smaller firms were often unable to flourish because of suffocating red tape.
"In Switzerland, small and medium businesses provide 60 per cent of the country's employment, [while] in the Ukraine, for instance, it's only five per cent," she said.
"Parliamentarians should be given the best possible information about how to ensure that their country's legal structure provides the best possible conditions for business," she added.
The Vienna-based organisation is the world's largest regional security organisation, with 55 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America.
OSCE says its goal is to prevent conflicts, manage crises and work on post-conflict rehabilitation.
swissinfo, Jacob Greber
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