21 june 2013
AECM Annual Seminar Rome, Italy
AECM presents its view on COSME and Horizon 2020 in EP Workshop on Financial InstrumentsNews - 11/04/2012
On Wednesday 11th April, Mr. José Fernando Figueiredo presented AECM's views of the future design of the CIP follow-up programmes COSME and Horizon 2020. The Workshop, organized by Policy Department A for the ITRE Committee and co-chaired by Mrs Teresa Riera Madurell, one of the MEPs Rapporteur for Horizon 2020, and by Mr. Jürgen Creutzmann Rapporteur for COSME, provided Members of the European Parliament with views and information regarding the different financial instruments, including guarantees.
Mr. Figueiredo presented the added value of guarantees, which manage to achieve a relatively high multiplier effect of 8 euros of guarantees in portfolio for each euro of own funds. By benefiting from public counterguarantees and CIP funding in particular, AECM members have been able to achieve an even greater effect on access to finance for SMEs. According to the latest provisional figures for 2011, AECM members held over € 83 bn in portfolio and reached over 2,7 million SMEs. The importance of the CIP funds can clearly be put into perspective, when considering that guarantee institutions have achieved a total volume of € 5,3 bn of guarantees to over 137.000 SMEs over the programming period. Consequently, AECM members, who as non-profit promotional entities have a long-standing experience with EU programmes are looking forward to continuing their cooperation under COSME and Horizon 2020.
There are however concerns regarding the design of the successor programme. AECM considers the threshold loan amount of € 150.000, which determines the separation between the two programmes as being too low. In effect, the financing of start-ups and business transfers would for most cases not be possible under COSME with such a low amount. Instead, a threshold guarantee amount of € 500.000 would be more adequate to address all operations of merit. The European Association of Cooperative Banks and other speakers held a similar view with regard to the inadequacy of this threshold. The Rapporteur concluded that some solution would have to be found but that it would at the same time have to be examined together with the budgetary envelope of COSME. MEP Paul Rübig, Rapporteur for opinion from the Budget Committee, stated that some additional funding could potentially be mobilized over the reallocation of unused budgetary means or proceeds from fines related to the infringement of EU competition rules.
AECM also stated that under the current pilot programme for the Horizon 2020 guarantee facility, the Risk Sharing Instrument, Guarantee institutions are currently excluded from the scope of eligible financial intermediaries. This was obviously an unsatisfactory situation, as this creates an unlevel playing field between financial intermediaries. The guarantee facility under Horizon 2020 would build in fine on the experience of the pilot programme. The Commission representatives underlined that this was only intended for the pilot phase, since the funding of RSI was considered as being too low to spread it over too many intermediaries. Guarantee institutions would be fully admitted as intermediaries under the follow-up programme in the Framework of RSI. Furthermore, the Commission aimed at keeping the definition of innovation as wide as possible, in order to allow a large number of SMEs to access funds under Horizon 2020. This could even include SMEs that are not innovative but show future potential. The AECM Chairman called for more certainty with regard to the future design of these programmes. The Rapporteur voiced his concern about whether SMEs would be able to properly participate in Horizon 2020.
The representative of the EACB also highlighted the relatively high bureaucratic complexity of the financial instruments and asked for simplifications in the future. The Rapporteur stated that also in this perspective, work could be done, but that there needed to be concrete proposals for simplification from the financial intermediaries.
Attachment: AECM position on COSME
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