Easier financing for SMEs

The second of three chapters of the ALDE SME campaign manifesto, contains seven targets regarding “easier financing” for SMEs.

10. EU instruments for SMEs must be simplified and made more easily accessible. Furthermore, EU programmes supporting research and innovation are still too bureaucratic to be exploited fully by innovative companies and support strategies must be more targeted towards skills, innovation and growth. Funding should also target innovative businesses in a broader sense such as user-based innovation, which constitutes the major part of all innovation and which is largely financed at the grassroots level though cohesion funds. A maximum target of 10% co-financing of EU SMEs within EU funds should be promoted.

11. We call for a European statute for cross-border operating venture capital funds, so they can satisfy the credit needs of innovative SMEs in other Member States more easily. Sufficient protection of private investors must be assured.

12. While defining increased capital requirements for banks as part of the implementation of Basel III, and in view of deleveraging process currently carried out by a number of banks, efficient safeguards for SME portfolios must be implemented. Moreover, the cumulative effect of financial services legislation should be considered.

13. Any revision of financial markets regulation should aim to encourage SMEs to increasingly finance through capital markets in order to be less dependent on bank loans.

14. Cross-border debt recovery needs to be simplified in order to create legal certainty, reduce bureaucracy and therefore increase the confidence of SMEs in the Internal Market. Hereby sufficient protection of debtors must be ensured.

15. We call on the Member States to anticipate the transposition of the late payments Directive into national law, which was originally foreseen until January 2013, to give additional liquidity to SMEs in the current economic crisis.

16. We call for the situation of SMEs to be taken into account in the ongoing reform of structural funds in order to enable SMEs to benefit more from these funds. Red tape needs to be reduced, for example by reducing auditing and reporting requirements and by introducing common rules for all funds and programmes. We propose to include  revolving funds, loan guarantees or similar systems in all cohesion policy instruments to enable SMEs to access credit, especially in rural areas.

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