Commission encourages the use of EU financial instruments in Greece
Under the auspices of the Greek Presidency of the European Union, the
European Commission holds today in Athens an 'EU Access to Finance Day', a
conference devoted to the new generation of EU financial instruments to support
small and medium-sized businesses from 2014 to 2020.
The aim of today's conference is to pave the way for implementation of EU
financial instruments in Greece, including instruments that will be available
within the landmark Commission's initiative to support small and medium-sized
enterprises - the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) programme.
From 2014 to 2020, COSME will help to bridge the market gap in the provision
of SME financing.
It is expected that it will provide from €14 to 21 billion of SME financing
in loans or investments, boosting between 220 000 and 330 000 SMEs in Europe
over the lifetime of the programme.
The conference will give a broad overview of the future EU financial
instruments available within the COSME and Horizon 2020 programmes, European
Structural and Investment Funds as well as the Creative Europe programme.
The SME-focused activities of the European Investment Bank and the European
Investment Fund will also be presented.
The conference will provide for an opportunity to explain mechanisms of these
instruments and to spark interest among financial institutions in Greece to
become intermediaries for the EU programmes.
An effective partnership between EU institutions and market operators
committed to providing enhanced access to finance for SMEs is a pre-condition
for a successful roll-out of financial instruments.
The event has been co-organised by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and
Industry of the European Commission and the Greek Ministry for Development and
Enhancing liquidity, especially for SMEs, is currently for Greece a major
To this end, the Greek Ministry of Development and Competitiveness has been
mobilizing numerous tools, including funds through the European Investment Bank
and financial instruments through the Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship and
Development (ETEAN S.A.).
In addition, the Institution for Growth in Greece – IfG, an investment fund
that aims at restoring liquidity for Greek enterprises, has been set up and is
expected to start functioning shortly.
All SME finance stakeholders (chambers of commerce, business organisations,
financial institutions) were invited to participate and learn more about a type
of EU support that Greece has only used so far to a limited extent.
The conference is one of a series of events being organised in all EU Member
States from autumn 2013 until spring 2015.
More about EU financial instruments
A wide range of EU financial instruments have been designed to catalyse
investments in SME sector through loans guarantees, equity investments and other
risk-bearing mechanisms and to support viable SMEs which find hard accessing
finance either due to their perceived higher risk or their lack of sufficient
These instruments constitute an efficient tool to stimulate the provision of
finance - a prerequisite for the development of SME-friendly environment in
EU assistance is channelled through selected financial intermediaries, such
as banks, leasing companies, mutual guarantee societies or venture capital
funds, who are willing to subscribe to strong SME finance enhancing conditions
Results of EU financial instruments for SMEs
The European Commission’s financial instruments have already been a success.
One of the main programmes – the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework
Programme (CIP, 2007-13), which the European Investment Fund has managed on
behalf of the Commission – has facilitated so far more than €15 billion worth of
loans and €2.4 billion in venture capital to over 275 000 SMEs across Europe.
More about the COSME programme
The Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) programme follows in the
footsteps of the CIP programme.
COSME is first and foremost an instrument that will improve access to finance
for SMEs, support their internationalisation and improve their access to
60% of COSME's estimated budget of €2.3 bn will be dedicated to financial
instruments, providing guarantees and venture capital and encouraging the flow
of credit and investment into the SME sector.
COSME financial instruments will largely continue the successful activities
of CIP and are expected to respond even better to SME needs, targeting the more
vulnerable categories of small businesses that are currently underserved by the
In order to cater for the diversity of the SME financing market in Europe,
COSME will only provide a framework, allowing financial intermediaries to create
individual products that best suit the needs of SMEs in their particular market.
COSME financial instruments will work in conjunction with Horizon 2020, the
programme for research and innovation.