SME financing gets a fresh boost under the Investment Plan for Europe

One of the main success stories of the Investment Plan for Europe has been the interest by financial intermediaries across Europe to use the EU budget guarantee to provide finance to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Therefore, as we announced on 1 June in our stock-take of the Investment Plan for Europe, we are scaling up the SME window of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This week, the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group have signed an agreement to make this a reality. The agreement reinforces the SME window by shifting EUR 500 million from the EU guarantee from the Infrastructure and Innovation window to the SME window; and it uses the EFSI guarantee to boost equity financing of SMEs and top up the InnovFin and COSME loan guarantee instruments as well as the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). These measures will allow the European Investment Fund (EIF) to finance a significant extra volume of operations, meaning more EFSI-backed equity and loans will reach European SMEs, including those in the social sector.