Up to €25 billion in loans is to be made available to small and medium-sized companies that are struggling to obtain credit from banks, the European Commission announced today (22 July).
The Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) plan to use €1.3bn from the Commission’s budget for the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME). The entire COSME budget for the period 2014-20 is €2.3bn.
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, the European commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship (pictured), told a press conference today that the money would improve SMEs’ “ability to innovate and even to go abroad”.
According to research carried out by the European Central Bank and published in April, 14% of eurozone SMEs said that they had problems getting credit. That percentage was around 20% in Spain and Italy, where SMEs also face funding costs that are significantly higher than those for SMEs in Germany, for example.
The COSME money will be released over the next seven years. The EIF will select financial intermediaries, such as lending banks or venture capital funds, which will then make the money available to SMEs.
Based on previous programmes, the Commission and the EIF estimate that every €1 of COSME funding can be used to mobilise up to €30 of external funding.
They hope that up to 330,000 SMEs will benefit from loans backed by COSME guarantees, with an additional 500 SMEs expected to receive direct investments.
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