Europe works for SMEs – also for small and medium sized cooperatives?

On June 25th, Othmar Karas, the vice-president of the European Parliament together with Antonio Tajani, the vice-president of the European Commission, chaired ‘Europe works for SMEs’ conference at the European Parliament, where new measures in order to access to finance from the EU were presented.

The European Commission launched the single portal on EU finance, which provides easy, complete and up-to-date information on how entrepreneurs and SMEs can access over €100 billion of EU financing from various 2007-2013 programmes. Likewise, the EU Commission also encourages Member States and regions to use EU financial instruments since they can enhance the impact of cohesion policy. Finally, the European Commission has introduced multiple proposals to give SMEs the help they need to inject more dynamism into Europe’s economy such as a joint European Commission/European Investment Bank (EIB) Group report on the activities facilitating access to finance for SMEs in 2012.

Klaus Niedërlander, director of Cooperatives Europe, intervening in the workshop ‘regional policy SME support’, chaired by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, said: “cooperatives welcome all these EU initiatives to support SMEs and we hope that they will take into account that there are different ways of doing business. Europe does not only need individual entrepreneurs and self-employed, but the whole diversity of entrepreneurial approaches including participatory ones”. Concluding Niedërlander affirmed: “In order to succeed, SMEs need financial support mechanisms, which can ensure the creation and strengthening of SMEs such as support centres for enterprise creation”.

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