More financing over and above Capital Markets Union needed for SMEs

EPP Group MEPs ask for more action on SME financing beyond the planned Capital Markets Union. The group of MEPs belongs to the EPP Group’s ‘SME Circle’, a working group that assesses the impact of legislation on SMEs.

“Access to credit is the main obstacle to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

“In order to overcome this difficulty, instruments such as the COSME SME programme and funding opportunities in the Horizon 2020 research programme will not be enough.” According to the Vice-President, it is necessary to release unused capital through alternative forms of financing, including venture capital.

“If the European Union had used venture capital, as it is possible to do in the U.S., 90 billion euros would have been available to finance SMEs in the worst years of the crisis, between 2008 and 2013,” Tajani said.

Markus Pieper MEP criticises the amount of bureaucracy involved for SMEs when asking their banks for traditional credit. “It’s fine that we plan to simplify securitisation and the initial listing of companies on stock exchanges, but this is only interesting for companies with a turnover of more than 50 million euros. What the ECB and Commission demand now from the bulk of SMEs that rely on traditional credit is a nightmare. For loans as low as 25,000 euros, SMEs must submit 150 different data items,” Pieper said.

Tajani and Pieper – along with other MEPs – asked the European Commission a number of questions on SME access to financing, to which the Commission answered in yesterday’s debate in Parliament.

“We need to review the effect of all existing financial market regulation on SMEs and on how banks can finance SMEs,” explained Tajani. “To this end, I would like to know from the Commission whether the correcting factor in the capital requirements for banks to lend to SMEs, introduced two years ago with the new banking regulation CRD, really makes it easier for SMEs to get credit,” Tajani concluded.

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