On Wednesday, 20th November the European Parliament approved the reform of cohesion policy, which will focus on investments in key areas for growth and jobs. The reform sets out new rules for financing the real economy, puts more emphasis on results and establishes common rules for an easier use of all the five Structural Funds and European Investment. The European Commissioner for Regional policy Johannes Hahn affirmed that “Parliament has given its consent to the reforms that transformed the Cohesion Policy in the main European investment instrument to achieve the goals envisaged by Europe 2020″. With an allocation of resources of 500 billion euro, equal to one-third of the total EU budget for the next seven years, Member States, regions and cities are called upon to take action in support of youth employment, SMEs, innovation and low carbon emission economy.
On 19th November the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved loans for a total of 4,31 billion euro for SMEs and mid-cap companies, which bring total EIB support to 21,1 billion euro for 2013. The Council has also approved loans up to 1,43 billion euro to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy, through projects in the fields of research, development and innovation; supplementary 3,24 billion euro will be used to promote strategic infrastructure throughout Europe; and, finally, 1,3 billion euro will be allocated to projects for resource efficiency. Thanks to the approval of other 16 operations, the EIB allowed the European Investment Fund to take commitments for further 285 million euro, which should have a leverage effect up to € 900 million of capital for SMEs.
On 26th September the consolidated text of COSME, the new European programme dedicated to SME financing, was adopted by the ITRE Committee. According to what European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani said, with a budget of 2,3 billion euros, COSME will serve as collateral for loans to SMEs and “will offer improved access to risk capital or lending, with a particular attention to the expansion and growth of SMEs.” In addition to financial intermediaries, information about access to these credit instruments can be found on the single portal, created specifically by the European Commission. As it was the case for the former framework
EU Commission President Jose Barroso announced on 19 September its intention to review bureaucratic procedures required by European standards, in order to streamline the formalities which steal time and resources especially for SMEs. The Chairman of the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens, Edmund Stoiber, applauded the accomplishments already achieved, highlighting that the 26.1% reduction of administrative burdens has resulted in a savings of 32,3 billion euro for European businesses.