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SME Finance Forum

SME Finance Forum, 6 May 2010

As pointed out in the Europe 2020 Communication, the financial crisis has halved Europe’s growth potential. Many investment plans, talents and ideas risk not being realised because of uncertainty, sluggish demand and lack of funding. The impact on real economic activity could be more pronounced in Europe because our SMEs rely more on bank loans than their counterparts in some other economies. It is therefore crucial that banks resume their normal role of providing liquidity and supporting investment in the real economy. Likewise, it is also important to further support and develop equity markets for start-ups and small innovative enterprises.

As announced by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani at the SME Finance Forum conference held in Brussels on 6 May 2010, a permanent forum has been set up to monitor the market situation and to encourage new approaches to improve access to finance for SMEs.

 

The first meeting of the SME Finance Forum took place in Brussels on the 28 September 2010. The second high-level meeting was organized on the 15 March 2011. The third high-level meeting took place on the 18 October 2011. A special session of the SME Finance Forum on "Sharing good practices in access to finance for SMEs and creating a bridge between African and EU businesses" has been organized on 23 November 2011. The meetings are chaired by Vice-President Antonio Tajani.

 

 

SME Finance Forum. Africa - EU (23 November 2011)

 

Sharing good practices in access to finance for SMEs and creating a bridge between African and EU businesses was at the heart of discussion of a special session of the SME Finance Forum dedicated to Africa. The meeting was chaired by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell Mkwezalamba. The high level meeting was the first occasion for African and EU stakeholders in the financial field to share views on the main issues African and European SMEs are facing when accessing sources of financing. A Memorandum of Understanding on an SME policy dialogue between African Union and European Union has been signed.

 

SME Finance Forum (18 October 2011)

 

On 18 October 2011, Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Barnier have presented key measures of the forthcoming EU action plan for improving SMEs’ access to finance during the third high-level meeting of the SME Finance Forum. Vice-President Tajani has presented the proposals for EU financial instruments under the €2.7 billion “Business Competiveness and SMEs Programme” for 2014-2020. The new programme will include an equity facility for growth-phase investment and a loan guarantees facility to cover loans for SMEs. Commissioner Barnier has presented the regulatory initiatives to allow venture capital funds to easily operate across borders and to improve SME access to capital markets. Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Barnier have discussed the measures of the action plan with representatives of the financial sector and business organisations. The action plan will be adopted by the Commission by the end of the year.

More information:

SME Finance Forum (15 March 2011)

 

On 15 March 2011, Vice-President Tajani chaired the second high-level meeting of the SME Finance Forum with representatives of the financial sector and business organisations. By the end of this year, Vice-President Tajani will present an action plan for improving SMEs’ access to finance, including access to venture capital. Among others, the action plan intends to strengthen the European financial instruments targeting SMEs and include a legislative regime that allows venture capital funds to operate easily across borders by 2012.

In addition, Vice-President Tajani invited the Hungarian Minister for National Economy Zoltàn Cséfalvay and the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Mr Xavier Rolet, to discuss how to facilitate SMEs’ access to finance for SMEs. The Commission would like the Member States to join it to make access to finance easier for SMEs. Banks and SME associations are encouraged to take actions to improve SMEs’ financial knowledge.

If you want o find out more on the Commission ´s ideas and actions to improve access to finance, please see:

 

SME Finance Forum (28 September 2010)

 

In the first meeting of the SME Finance Forum on 28 September 2010, possible means to improve the current situation of access to finance were discussed, such as the introduction of a grace period for firms in difficulties, the involvement of credit mediators and improved loan guarantees. Convened by Vice-President Antonio Tajani, leading European banking and business organisations examined ways to strengthen their efforts to ensure the continuous flow of funding to firms, especially small and medium-sized ones:

  • First, SMEs facing temporary difficulties can be provided a grace period during which they can postpone payment of interest and principal of their bank loans. This idea follows a successful Italian practice.
  • Second, several member states, including France, Belgium and Germany, have found that a credit mediator can successfully find solutions to cases where the loan applications of SMEs had initially been rejected.
  • Third, the tremendous success of mutual guarantee institutions and public guarantee programmes in most Member States during the crisis have shown that loan guarantees make it much easier to borrow in troubled times. About 1.8 million SMEs benefited from loan guarantees in 2009.
  • Fourth, in a rapidly changing financial environment SMEs need to be much more aware of the financing options and conditions they face, which makes training and access to advisory services essential.

The forum concluded that it is necessary to closely monitor the development of lending to SMEs, promote the good practices identified in the meeting and to develop financing alternatives. Next steps forward will be prepared in technical meetings of the SME Finance Forum, and reviewed at high level in early 2011.

Press room:

SME Finance Forum: Ensuring access to credit and to finance to small businesses (28/09/2010; IP/10/1186)

 

SME Finance Forum (6 May 2010) - How to exit the recession and achieve smart growth

The European Commission organized in 2010 the high-level conference SME Finance Forum on how to address the current challenges in access to finance for SMEs. The event, chaired by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, brought together around 350 stakeholders from the SMEs and the banking sectors.

Conclusions:

Conclusions of the "SME Finance Forum" [84 KB]

Conclusioni del "SME Finance Forum" pdf - 87 KB [87 KB] italiano (it)

 

Programme:

Conference programme [2 MB]

 


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08.30 - 09.15

Registration and welcome breakfast


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09.15 - 09.20

Introduction

 

Françoise Le Bail, Deputy Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry and SME Envoy


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09.20 - 09.50

Opening speeches

 

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship

 

Diego Lopez Garrido, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation


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09.50 - 10.00

 

Keynote speech

 

 

Reinhilde Veugelers pdf - 268 KB [268 KB] , Professor,Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Resident Scholar, Bruegel


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10.00 - 11.00

 

Plenary session – Access to credit in Europe: what's wrong?

 

 

• Corrado Passera, CEO, Intesa Sanpaolo

 

 

• Georg Toifl, President, European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME)

 

 

• Gérard Rameix, Médiateur national du crédit aux entreprises

 

 

• Dario Scannapieco, Vice-President, European Investment Bank

 

 

• Wolf Klinz, Member of the European Parliament

 

 

Moderator: Heinz Zourek, Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry


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11.00 - 11.30

 

Coffee break


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11.30 - 13.00

 

Parallel working sessions

 

 

1. Smart regulations for smart growth

 

 

Introduction: David Wright, Deputy Director-General DG Internal Market and Services

 

 

Arnold J.A.M. Kuijpers pdf - 18 KB [18 KB] , Executive Vice-President, Rabobank Netherlands

 

 

• John Hollows, Chief Risk Officer, KBC Group

 

 

Uli W. Fricke pdf - 550 KB [550 KB] , Managing General Partner, Triangle Venture Capital Group

 

 

• Hugh Morgan-Williams, Chair of BUSINESSEUROPE's SME and Entrepreneurship Committee, BUSINESSEUROPE

 

 

• Barbara Weiler, Member of the European Parliament

 

 

• Othmar Karas, Member of the European Parliament

 

 

Moderator: Adriana Cerretelli, Il Sole 24 Ore

 

 

2. Equity markets and guarantees for smart growth

 

 

Introduction: Jenny Rosberg, Senior Vice-President, NASDAQ OMX

 

 

Richard Pelly pdf - 24 KB [24 KB] , CEO, European Investment Fund

 

 

Giuseppe Pezzetto pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] , President, EuroFidi

 

 

• Hendrik Brandis, Managing Partner, Earlybird Venture Capital

 

 

Peter Mader pdf - 8 MB [8 MB] Deutsch (de) , President, Bundesverband Metall

 

 

Carlo Altomonte pdf - 371 KB [371 KB] , Associate Professor, Università Bocconi

 

 

Moderator: Dirk De Wilde, De Tijd

 

 

3. A roadmap for Europe 2020: How to return to the growth path

 

 

Introduction: Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, Vice-President, European Investment Bank

 

 

• Anne Glover, CEO, Amadeus Capital Partners

 

 

• Giorgio Natalino Guerrini, President, Confartigianato

 

 

Małgorzata Starczewska-Krzysztoszek pdf - 100 KB [100 KB] , Director of Economic Analysis Department, Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan (PKPP Lewiatan)

 

 

• Gina Domanig, Managing Partner, Emerald Technology Ventures

 

 

Moderator: Antonio Preto, Head of Cabinet of Vice-President Antonio Tajani

Contributions from other participants: Filippo Sabatini and John Ahearn pdf - 133 KB [133 KB] , Citibank


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13.00 - 14.30

 

Networking lunch


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14.30 - 15.30

Plenary session - How to exit the recession and achieve smart growth

 

Introduction & moderator: Françoise Le Bail, Deputy Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry and SME Envoy

 

 

• Edit Herczog, Member of the European Parliament

 

 

• Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, Vice-President, European Investment Bank

 

 

• Adriana Cerretelli, Journalist, Il Sole 24 Ore

 

 

• Alessandro Barberis, President, EUROCHAMBRES


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15.30 - 16.00

 

Conclusions

 

 

Antonio Tajani , Vice-President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship

 

 

 

Press room:

Commission to take on bottlenecks to financing of SMEs (06/05/2010; IP/10/522)

Latest trends in SMEs access to finance and EU financial instruments (06/05/2010; MEMO/10/167)

Extracts from press conference by Antonio Tajani

 

Photos:

SME Finance Forum - How to exit the recession and achieve smart growth

 

Participants:

List of participants pdf - 200 KB [200 KB] (This list includes all participants registered until 3 May 2010 (12.00h))

 

Contact:

For any questions and remarks relating to the Conference feel free to contact the Conference organization team.

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