Answer given by Mr Tajani on behalf of the Commission
The EU seeks to support access to credit for entrepreneurs and SMEs through the guarantee facility of the CIP 2007-2013(1). The facility provides loan guarantees to encourage banks to make more debt finance available to start-ups and SMEs. A specific window dedicated to microcredit loans is also included(2). Start-ups interested in applying for guaranteed financing should contact one of the intermediaries that have signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund(3).
In addition, the European Progress Microfinance Facility(4) makes available EUR 203 million (EU and EIB contribution) to increase the supply of microcredit to micro-enterprises and to people who have lost their jobs and want to start their own small businesses. Its financial instruments are available to both banks and non-bank microcredit providers.
EU financial support for start-ups is also available from the Structural Funds through Member States' managing authorities. One example is the JEREMIE initiative, which aims to improve access to finance for SMEs, including microcredit(5).
As for the measures envisaged for the future, the Commission recently adopted an Action Plan(6) to improve access to finance for SMEs. Among the measures indicated, the financial instruments for start-ups and SMEs will be reinforced in the new programmes COSME and Horizon 2020(7) for the period 2014-2020. Within COSME, it is proposed that EUR 1.4 billion shall be allocated to financial instruments.
Moreover, the new EU Programme for Social Change and Innovation will extend the support given to microcredit providers under the current Progress Microfinance Facility, including funding for capacity-building of microfinance institutions and investments for developing and expanding social enterprises.
Under the JEREMIE scheme (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises), some Italian Managing Authorities are already using part of their EU Structural Funds to finance SMEs and micro-enterprises by means of loans or guarantees via national or regional financial intermediaries.