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Access to finance

Data on access to finance

Glasses on data fact sheet

The Commission has created tools for analysis and monitoring, but is also committed to collecting data on the prevailing conditions in the loan and equity finance markets in order to make European financial markets more responsive to the needs of small businesses.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99% of firms in the EU. They provide some 67% of all jobs in the EU.

Given their importance to the EU economy, it is vital to understand the real situation that SMEs are facing when trying to access finance.

The lack of internationally agreed indicators and the scarcity of comparable data make it difficult to accurately assess the situation for small businesses. Therefore, the Commission has created tools for analysis and monitoring.

Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE)

Since 2008, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) have collaborated on the Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE).

European Commission SAFE survey

The Commission published the survey in 2009 and 2011. In 2013, the survey became an annual publication. The survey covers all EU countries.

SMEs' access to finance 2014:

SMEs' access to finance 2013:

SMEs' access to finance 2011:

SMEs' access to finance 2009:

SAFE ECB survey rounds – published every 6 months: the survey covers countries in the Euro area.

Earlier surveys:

Access to finance 2005/2006: The European Commission has published in 2005-2006 two Flash Eurobarometer surveys on SMEs' access to finance in the EU countries, a first one for the EU-15 and a second one for EU-10 countries; the same questionnaire was used for both surveys. A common summary  [20 KB] is available.

Eurostat SMEs’ access to finance survey (2010/2007)

This survey coordinated by Eurostat covered 25 000 businesses across 20 EU countries, also including information on fast-growing enterprises, the future financing needs of SMEs and perceived factors limiting business growth in the future. It analyses the consequences of the crisis by comparing data for 2007 and 2010 and sketches the outlook for the coming period, 2011 to 2013.

Enterprise Finance Index

The European Commission (EC) developed the SME Access to Finance (SMAF) index to monitor developments in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ (SMEs) access to financial resources, and to analyse differences between Member States. The index includes figures on the use of loans, guarantees, venture capital and business angel finance in the EU and on the use of EU financial instruments.

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