Legislation and regulations that affect business very often originate in Brussels. That's why IPSE, as the trade association that represents the UK’s very smallest businesses, became increasingly active in Europe in recent years.
As with the UK, freelancing is frequently misunderstood in the EU. IPSE wants to change that and have been working hard to promote the value of freelancing to decision makers in Brussels. Much of this work is done via our partner organisation – the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP).
Co-founded in 2010 by IPSE, EFIP is a collaboration of national associations which represent freelancers, or independent professionals, at EU level through targeted research and advocacy. EFIP is a not-for-profit organisation that is not affiliated to any political party. Our mission is to promote the value of independents to the European and national economies and to ensure that independent working is respected as a legitimate alternative to employment.
Consisting of representatives from across Europe, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, EFIP seeks to enhance the work of national organisations already representing independent professionals.
EFIP's work includes a ground breaking report into independent working, launched at the European Parliament, illustrating the huge growth in freelancing in Europe, which now totals 9.6 million, an increase of 99% since 2000. EFIP has been influential in the Commission's adoption of a new European Services e-card, which simlifies administrative procudures for some business sectors working across the Single Market.
EFIP also helped secure turnover expemtion thresholds for smaller businesses engaged in cross-border trade through the VAT MOSS framework. This ensures large businesses cannot take advantage of paying low rates of VAT by creating subsidiaries in Member States with lower tax regimes but means VAT must be paid where the customer makes the purchase.
Although the UK will leave the EU, the EU will remain our largest export market, with one in ten IPSE members working overseas and many more engaged in projects along a cross-border supply chain or as the result of Foriegn Direct Investment from Europe. Through EFIP, IPSE will work to ensure UK freelancers can travel and work freely across European Single Market.