Press conference by Joaquín Almunia, on the Risk Finance Guidelines
On 15 January 2014, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, held a press conference on the new guidelines adopted by the EC setting out the conditions under which Member States can grant aid to facilitate access to finance by European SMEs and companies with a medium capitalization (the so-called "midcaps").
Certain SMEs and midcaps, in particular innovative and growth-oriented SMEs in their early development stages, have difficulties to get funding, independently of the quality of their business potential. State aid can help address this funding gap, not by replacing existing funding channels but by attracting fresh money into new ventures through well-designed financial instruments and fiscal measures.
These guidelines are part of the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) strategy, which aims at fostering growth in the Single Market by encouraging more effective aid measures and focusing the Commission’s scrutiny on cases with the biggest impact on competition. The guidelines will enter into force on 1 July 2014.