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09/11/2010 - 10/11/2010

Conference on Microfinance in Europe

Conference on Microfinance in Europe

Organised by the Commission in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, the conference was the occasion to discuss achievements and challenges for microfinance in the European Union.

It was held back-to-back with a thematic review seminar on Promoting entrepreneurship and self employment across Europe in the framework of the Mutual Learning Programme.

The conference brought together 300 participants including officials from national and regional public administrations, managing authorities of the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), microfinance providers, business support providers, representatives of NGO's, experts and academics as well as representatives from EU institutions and bodies.

The event was opened by Joëlle Milquet, Belgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities, and Commissioners László Andor and Johannes Hahn. They underlined the high demand for microloans in the European Union and the important role of microfinance in achieving the goals of the Employment Guidelines and the Europe 2020 Strategy. In a video message, Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, Vice president of the EIB, mentioned the European Progress Microfinance Facility as an example of how the EIB group and the European Commission could join their efforts to support entrepreneurship and fight social exclusion.

The following panel discussions and workshops gave the opportunity to hear the views of politicians, officials and practitioners working on microfinance at the EU level and in the Member States. The key messages from the discussions were:

  • Strengthen capacity of microfinance institutions (e.g. through JASMINE, ESF) and link this better to the financial instruments and initiative;
  • Stay close to the final recipients of microfinance and entrepreneurship support in order to respond to their specific needs;
  • Create a more favourable environment for microfinance at national level. Microfinance providers need to balance the aim of sustainability (not profitability) with the objective of social performance;
  • Push for a more entrepreneurship-friendly environment in general. Participants cited examples like appropriate banking regulations, voluntary quality standards on microfinance and start-up support services, and supervision taking account of the specific nature of microfinance and a common status for self-employed addressing welfare and tax issues.

The conference presentations are available online.

Città  icona
  • Città : Brussels (Belgium)
  • Indirizzo: Hotel Bloom, Rue Royale 250, 1210 Bruxelles, Metro Botanique