CoR members adopted today unanimously the draft opinion on the Future of the COSME programme – the EU's programme for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - by PES member Robert Sorin Negoiţă, Mayor of Bucharest's District 3 (Romania). It calls upon the European Commission to ensure a stable and predictable SME support framework beyond 2020, which will take into account the needs of various types of SMEs in different EU territories.
"Looking at the future of COSME, our main demand is to give more competences to local and regional authorities. Good practices implemented at regional level through EU support can contribute to mitigate the risk of increasing territorial disparities. At the same time, a more active involvement of local and regional authorities in supporting the business environment will lead to a better implementation of European programmes for SMEs", Mr Negoiţă stressed.
Key proposals of his opinion include:
- calling for additional resources to be allocated to the future COSME programm;
- strengthening non-loan financing channels for SMEs;
- revising relevant EU rules governing State aid rules in the form of guarantees;
- clarifiying the possibility of combining the COSME programme with other European funds;
- increasing the loan threshold above which it has to be verified that an SME is not eligible for financing under Horizon 2020 from EUR 150 000 to EUR 500 000.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of EUR 2.3 billion. It supports SMEs in the following areas: facilitating access to finance, supporting internationalisation and access to markets, creating a favorable environment for competitiveness, and encouraging an entrepreneurial culture.