The European Council in 2000 concluded that it is a strategic goal for the European Union (EU) to be the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. To fulfill this strategy education and continuing education (lifelong learning) has a very high priority. In the enlarged European Union there are 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) representing 99 per cent of all EU enterprises and employing more than 75 million people, according to ‘The New SME Definition – User Guide and Model Declaration’, 2005





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