MEPs approved an EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) for 2014-2020 on Thursday. COSME aims to facilitate and improve access to finance and markets for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), support entrepreneurs and create more favourable conditions for business creation and growth.
"Our future competitiveness and the key to long term job creation depend on the success of SMEs. Yet many people are put off by the risks of setting up a firm or investing in small companies. The main barriers are bureaucracy, complex rules and bottlenecks to getting financing. Many SMEs could also grow much bigger if they took more advantage of business opportunities abroad. COSME is an important and necessary contribution to overcoming these barriers", commented rapporteur Jürgen Creutzmann (ALDE, DE).
MEPs insisted that it must be possible to invest at least 60% of the programme’s €2.03 billion budget in 2014-2020 (at 2011 prices) to provide funding through risk-capital or loan guarantees for SMEs. Other parts of the programme will focus on helping national authorities to reduce bureaucracy and SMEs to get access to markets.
COSME, together with the Horizon 2020 research programme, will replace the current Competitiveness and Innovation Framework programme (CIP). It will support all kinds of SMEs. But whereas Horizon 2020 will focus on business start-ups COSME will focus on their growth.
The Council is expected to endorse the draft regulation soon, as an informal deal between MEPs and member states has already been struck, in June 2013.
The resolution was passed by 554 votes to 27, with 18 abstentions.
Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure