26

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Date

New EU insolvency rules give troubled businesses a chance to start anew

19-06-2018

In 2012, the Commission proposed to recast the 2000 Insolvency Regulation in order to address the cross-border aspects of insolvency in the EU. Adopted in 2015, the recast regulation introduced clear rules on the jurisdiction and law applicable to a debtor's insolvency proceedings and made mandatory the recognition of those proceedings in other EU Member States. Its remit was expanded to include not only bankruptcy but also hybrid and pre-insolvency proceedings, as well as debt discharges and debt ...

In 2012, the Commission proposed to recast the 2000 Insolvency Regulation in order to address the cross-border aspects of insolvency in the EU. Adopted in 2015, the recast regulation introduced clear rules on the jurisdiction and law applicable to a debtor's insolvency proceedings and made mandatory the recognition of those proceedings in other EU Member States. Its remit was expanded to include not only bankruptcy but also hybrid and pre-insolvency proceedings, as well as debt discharges and debt adjustments for natural persons (consumers and sole traders). In late 2016, as a further step and a follow up to the Insolvency Recommendation of 2014, the Commission proposed to adopt a directive on business restructuring, which would provide new legal tools to rescue viable businesses in distress and give honest but bankrupt entrepreneurs a second chance. The proposal focuses on three key elements: common principles on early restructuring tools, which would help companies to continue operating and preserve jobs; rules to allow entrepreneurs to benefit from a second chance through a discharge of debt; and targeted measures allowing Member States to increase the efficiency of insolvency, restructuring and discharge procedures. The initiative is a key deliverable under the capital markets union action plan. It will also contribute substantially to addressing the high levels of non-performing loans in banks' balance sheets. The draft report was presented to the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) in September 2017. In May 2018 the Council reached agreement on part of the proposal.

Small and medium-sized enterprises

01-01-2018

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute 99% of companies in the EU. They provide two thirds of private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total added value created by businesses in the EU. Various action programmes have been adopted to support SMEs, such as the Small Business Act, Horizon 2020 and the COSME programme. Their aim is to increase the competitiveness of SMEs through research and innovation, and to provide better access to finance for SMEs.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute 99% of companies in the EU. They provide two thirds of private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total added value created by businesses in the EU. Various action programmes have been adopted to support SMEs, such as the Small Business Act, Horizon 2020 and the COSME programme. Their aim is to increase the competitiveness of SMEs through research and innovation, and to provide better access to finance for SMEs.

Preventive restructuring, second chance and efficient restructuring, insolvency and discharge procedures

24-05-2017

This Commission impact assessment is based on a wealth of information drawing from both research and consultation. Research quoted spans the last decade and encompasses international organisation, academic and think tank work. The consultation performed by the Commission has been essential to prioritising the issues to be further harmonised and in choosing the detailed sub-options. Among the strengths of the IA, there is a genuine attempt to comply as much as possible with the Commission Better Regulation ...

This Commission impact assessment is based on a wealth of information drawing from both research and consultation. Research quoted spans the last decade and encompasses international organisation, academic and think tank work. The consultation performed by the Commission has been essential to prioritising the issues to be further harmonised and in choosing the detailed sub-options. Among the strengths of the IA, there is a genuine attempt to comply as much as possible with the Commission Better Regulation Guidelines and transparency in providing information. This is particularly evident in the broad range of options presented and in the presentation of the territorial impacts of the initiative. In this regard, for instance, the IA provides a useful legal analysis of the most important issues for most Member States. Nevertheless, economic impacts appear to be analysed more in depth than social and employment outcomes. Among the additional weaknesses, the numerous objectives identified are not time-bound and may be difficult to measure. Finally, although the IA states that Member States should not incur significant monitoring costs, the requirements in the IA appear to be shorter and less detailed than the ones in the Commission proposal.

The Impact on SMEs of the Proposal of Preventive Restructuring, Second Chance and Improvement Measures

20-05-2017

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the effects the recent Commission proposal might have both on micro and small and medium-sized enterprise, thus reflecting the diversity of SMEs. It identifies and explains the issues at stake of concerned SMEs related to their capacity as both debtors and creditors.

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the effects the recent Commission proposal might have both on micro and small and medium-sized enterprise, thus reflecting the diversity of SMEs. It identifies and explains the issues at stake of concerned SMEs related to their capacity as both debtors and creditors.

A SECOND CHANCE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

20-03-2017

There are still several Member States where a business cannot be restructured before it is insolvent. Important discrepancies have remained as to the duration of the discharge period. Such differences in Member States' legal frameworks mean continuing legal uncertainty. The proposal aims to reduce barriers to cross-border investment related to differences between the Member States' restructuring and second chance frameworks, and to increase investment and job opportunities in the single market. ...

There are still several Member States where a business cannot be restructured before it is insolvent. Important discrepancies have remained as to the duration of the discharge period. Such differences in Member States' legal frameworks mean continuing legal uncertainty. The proposal aims to reduce barriers to cross-border investment related to differences between the Member States' restructuring and second chance frameworks, and to increase investment and job opportunities in the single market. Furthermore, unnecessary liquidations of viable companies should be decreased, value for creditors, owners and the economy should be maximised, and possibilities of cross-border restructurings be increased. Finally, the Directive is intended to improve the effectiveness of all restructuring, insolvency and second chance procedures with a view to reducing their length and costs.

Financial technology (FinTech): Prospects and challenges for the EU

17-03-2017

FinTech, the abbreviation for financial technology, is a broad term. It is mainly used to refer to firms that use technology-based systems either to provide financial services and products directly, or to try to make the financial system more efficient. Examples include robotic trading, cashless payments, crowdfunding platforms, robo-advice, and virtual currencies. The value of global FinTech investment in 2015 grew by 75 % to US$22.3 billion. Corporates, venture capital and private equity firms ...

FinTech, the abbreviation for financial technology, is a broad term. It is mainly used to refer to firms that use technology-based systems either to provide financial services and products directly, or to try to make the financial system more efficient. Examples include robotic trading, cashless payments, crowdfunding platforms, robo-advice, and virtual currencies. The value of global FinTech investment in 2015 grew by 75 % to US$22.3 billion. Corporates, venture capital and private equity firms have invested more than US$50 billion in almost 2 500 global FinTech start-ups since 2010. The rapidly growing FinTech sector has its rewards and challenges (e.g. data and consumer protection issues, risk of exacerbating financial volatility and cybercrime) and is increasingly attracting political attention. The European Commission set up a Financial Technology Task Force (FTTF), and the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) presented its draft report on FinTech in January 2017. At G20 level, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) will present its study scrutinising FinTech in July 2017. Due to the broad scope of FinTech, regulators can face a dilemma: rule-based regulatory frameworks set out compliance obligations clearly, but these are often expensive from a start-up perspective and could be an obstacle to innovation and job creation; principle-based regulation is more flexible, but could create some uncertainty as to what exactly is expected in terms of compliance.

Workshop on How to support the internationalisation of SMEs and microenterprises

14-10-2016

This paper summarises the discussions taking place during a workshop organised by the Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy for the ITRE Committee on how to support the internationalisation of SMEs and microenterprises. The focus lay on the challenges and barriers, and the drivers to SME internationalisation. Moreover, the success of, and SME participation in EU measures supporting access to new markets were debated.

This paper summarises the discussions taking place during a workshop organised by the Policy Department A: Economic and Scientific Policy for the ITRE Committee on how to support the internationalisation of SMEs and microenterprises. The focus lay on the challenges and barriers, and the drivers to SME internationalisation. Moreover, the success of, and SME participation in EU measures supporting access to new markets were debated.

External author

Mike Coyne, Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services (CSES) Stephan Kreutzer, Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services (CSES)

Hearing with Mrs Elke König, Chair of the Single Resolution Board - ECON 13 July 2016

07-07-2016

The Single Resolution Board (SRB) was established on 1 January 2015 and on 1 January 2016 it became fully responsible for the resolution of those banks which are directly supervised by the ECB and of other cross-border groups. This briefing presents the state of play regarding the work of the SRB as well as a short insight into the latest Risk dashboard published by the European Banking Authority (EBA). It is published in advance of the Hearing with Mrs Elke König, Chair of the SRB, in the ECON Committee ...

The Single Resolution Board (SRB) was established on 1 January 2015 and on 1 January 2016 it became fully responsible for the resolution of those banks which are directly supervised by the ECB and of other cross-border groups. This briefing presents the state of play regarding the work of the SRB as well as a short insight into the latest Risk dashboard published by the European Banking Authority (EBA). It is published in advance of the Hearing with Mrs Elke König, Chair of the SRB, in the ECON Committee on 13 July in accordance with Article 45.4 of Regulation (EU) 806/2014.

Barriers to SME growth in Europe

26-05-2016

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent 99% of all businesses in the EU, play a pivotal role in its economy. Nevertheless, in comparison to larger firms, they often face significant obstacles – internal, administrative and financial – which affect them disproportionately. SMEs have been affected negatively by the economic crisis, which is manifested in a reduction in the sector's employment figures. The financial and sovereign debt crises have also had a negative impact on the ...

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent 99% of all businesses in the EU, play a pivotal role in its economy. Nevertheless, in comparison to larger firms, they often face significant obstacles – internal, administrative and financial – which affect them disproportionately. SMEs have been affected negatively by the economic crisis, which is manifested in a reduction in the sector's employment figures. The financial and sovereign debt crises have also had a negative impact on the financing of SMEs, especially in the hardest-hit countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, important differences exist in access to finance both within the euro area and between the 'old' (EU-15) and 'new' (EU-13) Member States. Concerning the recovery from the crises, the picture also remains mixed. Administrative and regulatory obstacles are often highlighted by SMEs as being a significant burden on their growth. It is substantially more costly for smaller firms to comply with regulations and few Member States actively support SMEs when it comes to tax provisions, or take their specific characteristics into account when drafting legislation. The European Parliament has been a long-standing advocate of an environment for SMEs that is conducive to growth.

New Financial Instruments and the Role of National Promotional Banks

15-04-2016

This Paper examines the role played by National Promotional Banks and Regional Promotional Banks in implementing EU SME financial instruments across EU-28, to examine how far they are already involved in implementing these instruments and in what capacity they help to strengthen access to finance for SMEs. The focus is on instruments implemented under shared management, as well as on those implemented under direct management by the European Commission and indirect management by the EIB and the EIF ...

This Paper examines the role played by National Promotional Banks and Regional Promotional Banks in implementing EU SME financial instruments across EU-28, to examine how far they are already involved in implementing these instruments and in what capacity they help to strengthen access to finance for SMEs. The focus is on instruments implemented under shared management, as well as on those implemented under direct management by the European Commission and indirect management by the EIB and the EIF on behalf of the EC.

External author

Mark Whittle, Jack Malan and Danilo Bianchini (Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services LLP - CSES)

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